New Blog/New Possibilities!

3 Apr

Hi everyone,

This is just a friendly reminder that I’ve started a new lifestyle blog and that Erica Takes Over is officially… well… over!

For more food, crafts, and savings tip follow me over to Entry-Level Living. There you’ll find everything I’ve been posting on this blog over the last three years, just a little more focused and well-rounded.

It’s been a load of fun posting here, and I can’t wait for you to check out what I’ve got in the works on Entry-Level Living.


29 Jan

Hiya readers,

I know I haven’t posted on this in a while, but I’ve been working on a new project and new concept for a brand spanking new blog that doesn’t have such a self-centered name (hey run-on sentences!).

So please follow me over to my newest venture at , where I’ll be posting a lot of what you see here and much much more.

Of course I’ll share some links on this site as well, but it’s time for some big changes and bigger experiments! Thank you for following along for the last 3 years, I’ve had a blast!

“30 Rock” is Ending and I Seriously Can’t Deal.

31 Jan

I was in high school when NBC introduced us to Liz Lemon and the cast and crew of “TGS With Tracy Jordan.” Oh boy, just writing that first sentence is getting me choked up. This is going to be hard.

Everyone that knows me knows my affinity for “30 Rock,” whose series finale- after seven beautiful years- is tonight. I’ve become the person that constantlytumblr_lpzmg1mY0y1qzdgq9o1_400 receives links, texts about news, random “Blerg” e-mails and comments (the condolence letters have been non-stop today). I wear my TGS With Tracy Jordan sweatshirt on a way-too-regular basis. I’ve seen all the seasons at least 6 times, which means of course I can quote any episode at any time. And I love it.

It isn’t easy to talk about a television show with such sincerity without sounding tacky or over-the-top. Obviously it is a downright hilarious show, with a story line that is pretty addicting and easy to follow. It’s also smart comedy that allows viewers like me to laugh at our own ridiculous personalities and quirks.

But there is a sentimentality that I feel towards the characters of “30 Rock” that I honestly can’t over-embellish. Being a comedy-nerd there were always shows out there that I loved to watch, from Saturday Night Live to Arrested Development and Parks and Recreation. But now I’m in my mid-20’s, and through it all no characters ever really grew up as I did. They were there tinafeythrough such monumental moments in my life: graduating from college, the awful post-college job interviews and subsequent rejections, landing my first full-time job. Things may have been changing all over the place, but through it all I had the chance to tune it all out once a week with Liz, Jack and a glass of Funky Juice.

I also respect the crap out of Tina Fey, my homegirl and the first female head writer on Saturday Night Live. Growing up I would act out the SNL skits from that week in my basement and subject my friends to stand-up routines at sleepovers. I learned about television comedy and fell in love with its complexities- and its ability to still be funny within the restraints of public broadcasting- because of women like her.

I know it’s corny, but I am not ready to see “30 Rock” go. I don’t want to say goodbye to the characters or the stories or the comfort I feel when I watch it. I am freaking out a lot. There will be a lot of tears at it’s end, and a whole lot of moping tomorrow.


It’s Time We Let Michael Vick Off the Leash

7 Jan


This past Saturday, I joined most of America in watching the NFL Wildcard games. As I scrolled through my phone, scanning Twitter and Facebook, the overwhelming trend of the day was Ray Lewis. As he stepped on the field for his last home game, posts flooded my screen about what an icon he was, his legend, his unforgettable accomplishments.

It’s almost as if he was never an accessory to murder.

In case you are unaware, Ray Lewis was an accessory in the 2000 murder of Atlanta’s Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar- whose girlfriend was about seven months pregnant with his daughter at the time. What resulted was a messy court proceeding  that still remains unresolved. Instead of facing charges for his crime, Lewis accepted a plea deal to testify against his two friends and earned him only a year of probation and a fine from the NFL. Two men still remain dead with no one to blame, one little girl lives without ever knowing her father. The next year, Lewis was named Super Bowl MVP.

Meanwhile Philadelphia’s quarterback (for how long, is yet to be determined) Michael Vick is still facing an endless backlash for the dog fighting scandal that led to almost two years in jail and bankruptcy. When he joined the team in 2009 I was among the many to condemn him and Andy Reid. I despised the Eagles, and refused to watch. But then I saw what a changed man he was, and how hard Vick was working to right his wrongs, and my opinions have changed. I just wish that more people would see what change can do.

The point of our country’s federal prisons is to rehabilitate criminals to make them safe and substantial members of society.  Since his release from prison, Michael Vick has campaigned against dog fighting, joining the Humane Society‘s End Cruelty and Fighting Campaign and Pets for Life in a public fight to teach others from his mistakes. Meanwhile he continued to promote his own foundations within the community, Team Vick and the Michael Vick Foundation, and worked with the Eagles, while serving as a shining example of single fatherhood and tackling the challenging schedule of a professional athlete.  He is proof of the benefits of our judicial system, but he’s still received by most as a criminal, a monster. What’s the point of our federal courts if their benefits go unnoticed?

There’s a huge difference between Vick and Lewis and that lies entirely in the court system. Michael Vick owned up to his crimes and payed the price, while Lewis took a plea deal to testify against his two friends and save himself. Lewis never came forward to take responsibility for the night of his crime. Vick did his time, and Lewis sold out.

A real hero, a true legend, is not determined on the field. They are found in their actions off the field, in their ability to right their wrongs and help others along the way. Ray Lewis has done nothing to publicly own up to what he did: even if he didn’t stick the knife in, he lied to police and did nothing to help bring justice to two murdered men. Then he put on a helmet and won a few games, and suddenly to his fans all is forgiven. Maybe if Michael Vick went further this season, or got a Superbowl ring since his release, he would be more of a hero. But is that how we as a nation should judge our legends?

Uncle Ray

4 Nov

This is a transcription of a conversation I had with my Great Great Uncle, Ray Hummer shortly before his 90th birthday. He wanted to share some of the stories of his life growing up around New Jersey and Pennsylvania. I’m hoping to add some more from his time in World War 2 in a chat to come. For now, enjoy!

Transcription of Raymond Hummer taken on Dec. 31, 2011.

Transcribed by Erica A. Bauwens on Nov. 4, 2012.


This information came from a background search that was made on my grandmother.

John Arthur I (GET LAST NAME) came from Scotland, and he received a grant of land on the Western border of Virginia, now part of Pennsylvania. 500 acres, 48 warrant 13 2nd Mo, Penn Archives (CONFIRM NUMBER)

Son, John Arthur II has no record, only in 1790 Census and served in Capt. [Charles] Taggart’s company of Rangers on the frontier.

John Arthur III served in the Seventh Virginia regiment of foot under Capt. Charles Fleming, and married Eve Manke and had son John Arthur V on Feb. 20, 1793. And he (John Arthur III) died in Dec. of 1815. John Arthur V married Anne and had 9 children.


The first was Nancy B. May 7, 1819 . She married John Seigh. They had a daughter, Julianne (SPELLING?). And Julianne married James J. Wilkes (SPELLING ??) who was born Feb. 21, 1854 (CONFIRM DATE) and died June 14, (GET DATE OF DEATH).


They had one son, my (R.H.) grandfather, Edwin Cooper Wilkes, born Feb. 17, 1865. He married Maude Mary Washington in September of 1885. They had six daughters: May, Cora, Pearl (mother of R.H.), Florence, Grace and Esther. They had no boys. And I always thought my grandmother was a Harris. She lists her name as Washington, but her mother must have been a Stuart because on my grandmother’s side her mother was a nice of Colonel Jeb Stuart, who goes back to the Stuarts of Scotland.


But getting back to my grandfather (Edwin Cooper Wilkes): he was an individual that was of his own air. I don’t have any idea and I’m hoping you might find out what his educational background was. I know he worked all his life around steel mills throughout New York and Johnstown Pennsylvania. My sister has a newspaper on the flood from that area in the 1880’s. [May 31, 1889] Evidentially he rescued a lot of people. He was a civil engineer- whether he just picked it up or had actual training I’m not sure. But he actually invented the oil burner. And he was offered something like $250,00 and royalties for the rest of his life by Standard Oil. But he had no business sense and he turned it down, because he thought he could make money on his own.


What I’m telling you is not in any order, just bits and pieces.


Evidentially, in the steel mill, he burnt his leg so badly that gangrene set ins. And of course we were talking about the early 1900’s, so they wanted to just cut it off. But he sat at night with a candle and would sterilize his own blade at night and cut away his own flesh.


He told the story of during the great flu epidemic hit: he got this flu and he went home and mixed this concoction and took it and drank it and went back to work and he thought he felt something. So he went and sat down behind the boilers for a minute, but then after a few minutes he came around. So whatever it was that he took it worked.


Another incident was when he was living up in New York around Albany in a steel mill. In the wintertime, in those days they had a big copper pot to boil clothes, but evidentially one of the girls, Grace, poured the hot water all over and scalded her face. And they got word to him and he walked across the frozen river and fell through across the times to get home. Came home and had the local doctor graft some skin off of him for her.


And yet, in later years, he liked to be the center of attention. If we’d have a gathering at home and his wife Maude seemed to be getting all the attention he would get indigestion. And he would whine and whine, so they’d give him rhubarb with soda or something.


While I’m on that subject; this was probably about 1935, maybe ’36. My oldest brother was out of the house, he was a professional musician and he played piano with a lot of big bands in the area. But he was on the road traveling and they had a bus and wuld play one night stands all over the place. Richard was my father’s pride and joy. His full name was Edwin Richard, like grandpa. And we got word that he would be playing at this supper club, a really fancy place. So we had to go down to see him perform. My sister was the driver, my father didn’t drive. We had a 1932 Hupmobile, similar to the green car they drive in Boardwalk Empire. It had little glass bud vases on the side to put artificial flowers in. So it was my sister, my mother and father, my grandmother and grandfather and Don and me. And it was 100 miles from Richmond to Orange, and in those days, we’re talking that there were no major highways. So you didn’t do a drive in an hour and a half. It took three to four hours to do that drive, and you prayed that you didn’t get a flat tire or the car didn’t boil over on you. So of course, us being hicks, we stop by a diner on the way to this restaurant because we couldn’t afford a meal there. We thought we’d just get dessert. So we get there and my brother got this table right by the band stand and the waiter came by and said ‘May I suggest something light?’ and we said ‘sure!’ We didn’t know what we were ordering, but he brought out sherbet.

            But this night club had these two beautiful girls that were taking mens’ coats, and my brother and I were just old enough to start appreciating women. So while we’re having our dessert and admiring our big brother who was the center of attention, grandpop didn’t like that. And he started to have indigestion. So he stands up, starts unbuttoning his shirt and his long underwear and all that. The maitre de comes up and asks ‘Is the older gentleman alright? Is there something wrong?’ And my grandmother used to baby him. So my mother says to my brother Don, ‘Why don’t you take him out to get some fresh air?’ So we did.

            Now when Grandpop had to break wind he didn’t care where he was, who was around, anything else. So here is Don and I walking him past the hat check girls and just as we get to them he goes. You can imagine a 14 and 17-year-old boy, how this went over. He was a character like you wouldn’t believe.

            My father was the manager was the manager of the silt mill and he never got a vacation. So every year my mother’s sister had a cottage in Washington New Jersey by Hackettstown, and on Memorial Day weekend we would drive our grandparents up there in the summer and on Labor Day weekend we would come get them. The cottage had no electricity, no running water and a well. And they lived with us the rest of the year. In those days when we went from Orange, Virginia to North Jersey we had no bridges, we had ferries. And when you went on a holiday weekend it was packed. It would take at least 15 hours to get there, because you had to figure out that if you missed the ferry you would have to wait 3 or 4 loads to get on them. That was how we always spent those holidays.


We didn’t have the Turnpike back them. US 1 wasn’t much better than a standard lane. It was paved but, it was one lane on each direction, curves with hills and no pull-offs. And if you got behind a truck their top speed was maybe 50. And when they got on a slope it was like you weren’t moving, and there was no way to pass them.


In the cottage he made a well out of beautiful brownstones. And he installed the pump himself, and the pump slipped and cut his finger so it was hanging off by the skin. SO he went into the house, grabbed a butcher knife and finished the job. But this was the man that would get indigestion and think he was dying.


I used to spend the summers up there. And radio was the thing in those days, since we had no TV. But we had no electricity, and as a teenager I had nothing to do. I don’t know what he did, but he had a foil of copper wire, and a battery and earphones and nails, and he made me a crystal set so I could pick up New York’s WNEW and listen to Martin Block. He used to have Block’s Block Party and I would listen with the headphones on the radio that he built.


Washington, New Jersey was where a college was. It was up on a hill, then there was all fields and the Musconetcong River, and there was a private little amusement park called Butler Park. They had a penny arcade and a very old merry go round from the 1880s, with a skating rink, Bingo, rented rowboats and a few of those things. And my grandpop got an old automobile, took it off its spokes and built a barge, and used the spokes as paddles. And he built a big paddleboat and would charge people a nickel and drive 10 or 20 people down the river. Then the river split and there was a little bit of an island there, and they built a bridge with an old tree with a swimming hole and a tire swing for the kids. We were just one step beyond the one piece bathing suit, and suits were mostly made of wool. Grandpop had a great big straw hat. One Sunday we went down to swim and he comes down where we all were. He was in his bathing suit, smiling and laughing, but then we look and found out that moths had eaten out the whole crotch. No wonder he was smiling!


That cottage had a honey bucket [emergency toilet] and you’d be trying to sleep out in the porch in the summer trying to cool down and at 7 o’clock in the morning Grandpop would decide to empty that honey bucket. So you’re trying to sleep and he’d come walking by and you would smell him go by and wake up the hard way.


I think when we lived in Orange we had two fox terrier, Shorty and Elmer and we had one cat. One winter when radio was the thing they had the Luxe Radio Theater on Monday nights. And they would take a movie and condense it and do the whole movie on radio and narrate it. It was a big deal. In our house the sofa had a big grate next to it for the furnace to spread the heat. If you were 30 feet away you froze. Of course the dogs knew this and would sleep on the vent. And while they were sleeping they would get too hot, start to cook, so in their sleep they would lift one leg up and put it down, then lift the other leg up and put it down. And any time the cat was outside he would come to the front door and cry. The dogs would hear it and start yapping, and when you let the cat in the dog would pin it to the floor and the poor cat would run off. My grandfather, whenever he had to clear his throat he would go to the front door and go out there to spit. The dogs knew this, so if they heard him clearing his throat they were there. So he’d open the door, the dogs would go charging up the street barking and waking up all the neighbors. So back to the Luxe Radio Theater. Grandmom and my mom would be sitting on the sofa and the radio would be on the table, and my father would sit by the radio. The floor lamp had a metal ash tray with a rocker on one side. My grandfather would sit on the rocker and listen to Lux Radio Theater and the dogs would be on the furnace. And it never failed, about 10 minutes before the climax of the show grandpop- who had been asleep the whole time- would wake up. And he would pick up that ash tray and it would go “clank clank clank,” then he’d pick up his pen knife and go “clank, clank, clank” and we’d all be sitting around shushing him and he’d be yelling “What say, Maude? What say? What say?” Next thing he’d clear his throat and that was it. Both dogs would be up barking and he’d be staggering across the room to go to the door. You couldn’t hear a damn thing. I don’t think they ever heard the final five minutes of any of that show. It’s a good memory but it was frustrating at the time.


We had a big pantry house off the kitchen. And outside the pantry was the entrance to the cellar. And right in that corner the drain pipe from the toilet was there and came right down the middle. Of course there was never caulk or any of that, and the basement was just a cellar with dirt floor. Those two dogs and the cat, when the mice would come up through the pipe, would work as a team. They’d go out through the kitchen. Shorty would go by the pipe, that was his post. The other dog and the cat would head in and go after the mouse. You never heard such a racket: pots and pans everything. I never saw a mouse make it. The dog and cat would chase him out and Shorty would kill him.


Grandpop lived to 75. We lived in the suburbs of Wilkes Barre, PA, and the main drag Wyoming Ave. had a street car with double tracks. Evidentially one day he tried to drive straight down between the street cars. It didn’t hurt him but there wasn’t much left of the car. Then I was with him once, we used to drive to Wilkes Barre to New Jersey and we had to go through the Delaware Water Gap. You knew you would have at least one flat tire, when you went through a slope you would hear the steam of a tire. This one time we went over and it was raining and we were going along pretty good and all of the sudden I start to feel this… bump, bump, bump…. We were driving down a railroad track! Right down the middle, and hitting the ties.


Growing up I never knew a time when a grandparent wasn’t living with us. I was born in Rahway, NJ and we moved to Pennsylvania probably around 1923. But my father’s mother had a stroke and his father was already dead, but she was in that bed in the house. And she had a nurse that I remember dressed all in white. Then when we moved to Pennsylvania when I was about 4 that’s when we had her put in a nursing home, when I was about 6 or 7.


That was in 1928, my sixth Christmas. The best Christmas a kid could have. You named it I got it. Electric train; Army truck; a Buddy L truck. They used to make these big soldiers out of paper mache and the rifle was a wire rifle. My father had a good job, he got my mother a wristwatch that was diamonds and emeralds. Then, in 1929 I got a 10 cent coloring book, because the market crashed and my dad lost his job and lost all his money. When the bank closed if you had money in that bank it was gone. And he had no insurance. No welfare, no unemployment, nothing. You were on your own. And being in Wilkes Barre where the coal mines were, you could see that it was really rough. I was a kid, it didn’t affect me, but I could remember it. We would have these men knocking at your door all day long asking to sweep your walk for a piece of bread, or anything. Just to get something to eat. We lived off of Campbell’s Tomato Soup and elbow macaroni. That was our spaghetti dinner. And my mother used to take yellow corn meal and make her own bread and my father would buy a whole bucket of salt mackerel for a buck and half.  Basically that’s all I remember eating. We didn’t starve, we ate, but it wasn’t an exciting thing. And until World War II started, living in the 30’s and 40’s was like it was right now. It was the war that helped us, mainly because if you weren’t in the armed forces you were in a factory building planes or guns or something. And we had great prosperity after. For so long we had to make due with nothing: no washing machines, no refrigerators, no cars, no nothing, and when the war ended it was a boom.


Ray Hummer joined military at age 20. Navy Day 1945 I was stationed at the embassy in London. And the Marine anniversary is the day before Navy Day. We had the Arty Schaw orchestra, all professional musicians. We got the ballroom at the Grosvenor House Hotel. And we had a dance. We started the day off with a softball game with the Air Force in Hyde Park. And they had a flatbed full of beer. Then we went to a dance and the officers had a liquor ration. We lived on British rations, you couldn’t buy anything, but the officers turned over their liquor rations for the party. And the clerks- which I was one of- we ran off tickets on the mimeograph machine. So we were supposed to have two drinks per person and for your date, but these guys just kept rolling them out. By the end of the night you couldn’t put your drink down: the tables were covered in bottles and glasses. I don’t remember that night: my girlfriend she was from London at the time. I remember leaving they party, getting on the Subway… the next thing I remember is waking up heaving in her kitchen sink. Between the time I got on that Subway and I was sick in her house in the sink I don’t know.


Drinking Like a Lady: 2012 Review of Pumpkin Beers

17 Sep

Fall is here, and I am in my own personal heaven… It’s pumpkin beer season!

Since I’ve turned 21 I feel like the numbers of pumpkin beer available on shelves have tripled. Everyone has a favorite, but there are just too many to try in such a short season that you can’t find out. So I decided to help.

The other night, my boyfriend Alex and I painstakingly sampled seven different pumpkin beers. The things I do for this blog… I deserve a Nobel prize. We based tested each beer based on four things, scored through numbers 1-5: Color, smell, pumpkin flavor, and overall flavor. We averaged those numbers to find a solitary score along with a short write-up. Here’s what we found, scored from best to worst. Alex’s score is listed below mine, but since this is my blog the rankings reflect how I saw them:

1. Imperial Pumpkin Ale: Weyerbacher 
My Score: 3.875
Alex’s Score: 4.5
My Take: This was one of our last beers to taste. By then I was tired and ready to throw in the towel, and I was worried that would ruin things. I was wrong. The beer was a much deeper red than any other of the ones we’ve tasted before- creepy Halloween beer? It had a very sweet smell but I was happy to know that it overpowered the hops. It almost tasted like pumpkin pie. Sweet, but savory. It was so diverse, and like all good beers, it got better as it got warmer. Would I buy this again? I’m planning to after work!

Alex’s Take: Right when the beer hit the glass I knew this was going to be one of the better beers. It was a really dark red, a definite diversion from the orange ambers that dominated the night. Its spicy bouquet exploded right from the beginning. It was the sweetest smelling beer without a doubt. There was a strong smell and taste of cloves which worried me as it’s not my favorite spice but it actually added a really nice twist. That along with the good overall pumpkin spice made this a beer that I would definitely get more of.

2. Hipp-O-Lantern Imperial Pumpkin Ale: River Horse Brewing Company
My Score: 3.5
Alex’s Score: 4
My Take: Of course I had to sample a South Jersey beer, and I wasn’t let down. Maybe it was fresher because it comes from such close quarters, but I haven’t been let down at this brewery yet. The foggy brown color was less than desirable, and the hops smelled a little too strongly for me, (I’m not a huge fan of extra hoppy beers) but the nutmeg and cinnamon that were hidden in the scent found a way to stand out in the taste. And as it warmed in my hand, all spice and even more nutmeg began to warm up in the scent as well. I would order this beer again: especially since I believe the freshness is something I won’t be able to find elsewhere.

Alex’s Take: Nothing particularly memorable about this beer but it was one of the most drinkable. The color was deep and opaque, and the smell was very strong. The flavor didn’t quite match the bold smell. Spices hit right at the front before succumbing to a bitterness that was the beer’s downfall. It did, however, finish with a nice kick. Coming from right here in NJ, it was one of the fresher beers which me want to try it again even more. I will be going back for a six pack.

3. Pumpkin Fest: Terrapin Brewing Company
My Score: 3.375
Alex’s Score: 3.5
My take: In a pumpkin beer I want a few things before I take a sip: a rich, amber color and a burst of cinnamon, cloves and all spice in the scent. I was drawn into Terrapin’s beer as soon as I poured it. The scent carried into the first taste, but the aftertaste was lost a little in the Oktoberfest lager- normally a pumpkin beer is an ale- and I tasted a little bit too many hops for my liking. Overall, I would buy this again in an instant.

Alex’s take: This beer didn’t wow me at the time but the more I think about it the more I want to drink it again. Before I even knew what this beer was trying to be I described it as “Marzen-like” the typical german malty beer associated with Oktoberfest. I usually think marzens are bland and pretty undrinkable. No so for Terrapin. Turns out pumpkin spices are the perfect complement to the sumptuous maltiness of the marzen. I might have to buy a case.

4. Pumple Drumkin Spiced Ale: Cisco Brewers
My Score: 2.75Image Courtesy:
Alex’s Score: 3.5
My Take: I’m not going to lie: I chose this beer because of the adorable little pumpkin on the front. I originally wanted to skip it because of the idea that you “can’t judge a book by it’s cover,” but it’s a beer, not a book so whatever. The color was a very dark amber, slightly orange, and exactly what I was hoping to find in a pumpkin ale. Unfortunately, I missed the spices that are promised in the name in both the scent and the smell. I was overpowered by the hoppiness. There was a freshness from the hops that some IPA fans might love, because it brought out a particular freshness, but I was looking for warmth and spice. I wouldn’t buy this beer again, but I’ll certainly keep the bottle close by for when I need a smile.

Alex’s Take: When we opened Pumple Drumpkin I was very excited to try it. It was the only beer we tried to have any kind of hoppy smell to it which is something I love. The flavor was a big letdown though. It was absent any pumpkin flavor and didn’t pack any of the hops its nose boasted. Not a bad beer and I might give it another shot before I write it off completely.

5. Pumpkin Ale: Smuttynose Brewing Company
My Score: 2.63
Alex’s Score: 2.5
My Take: This bottle had the weakest color out of all the beers, almost resembling a typical lager. The scent carried most of the taste, with a strong hit of nutmeg right from the start followed by a sweet cinnamon scent. This beer would have suffered without it, however, as the flavor matched the color more than anything: slightly bland, almost flat even. Mild was definitely a good way to put it, but like I said the scent really made it a harmless beer to drink. Not worth a second try, however.

Alex’s Take: Sad to say this was one of my least favorite beers of the night. I love Smuttynose but this was not up to their standard. The smell was sour and the taste was overly acidic. There were times when I found myself enjoying it but the feeling would subside with the next sip. Just an odd taste that I can’t really put my finger on. I don’t think I would get this one again.

6. Punkin Ale: Dogfish Head Brewery
My Score: 2.625
Alex’s Score:
My Take:
This is the original pumpkin ale, and the only one I would drink for the longest time, and I hate myself for ranking it so low, but I was unbelievably let down. Alex and I theorize that the liquor store we visited restocked the shelves with last year’s bottles, and I’m going over to ask them the honest truth tomorrow (will I get the truth? Let’s see) because there is no way that Dogfish would put out this product. I had this beer on tap at their Rehoboth, DE location and it was one of the best beers I’ve ever drank, so for us to have sipped this super carbonated, flavorless ale on Saturday has to be a fluke. So I will most definitely be ordering this beer again, from a different store. This beer is one of the reasons I got into craft beers in the first place, so it just goes to show how easily tainted one craft beer can be from store to store.

Alex’s Take: This had to be an old bottle because I bought two cases of this last year and loved every sip. And this bad tasting would not discourage me from buying a case of Punkin again, year after year.

7. Imperial Pumking: Southern Tier Brewing Company
My Score: 2.5
Alex’s Score: 2.75
My Take: Of all the pumpkin beers- with the exception of Dogfish’s Punkin Ale- that I was going out to purchase, there was an overwhelming number of people that told me that this was the best, and of all the beers we tasted this was the beer that let me down the most. The beer was a light gold color, not the most appealing color when you’re looking forward to pumpkin. The scent had a strong metallic ring to it, so much so that upon taking my first sip I had to stop and hold my breath. That metallic scent led into the taste, unfortunately. It completely ruined the flavor for me and I gave the rest to my dad who actually loved it. Was this another bad beer from the store? I don’t know, but I don’t think it matched my expectations either way.

Alex’s Take:  I always have this beer recommended to me. Southern Tier has rarely steered me wrong but this beer was missing something. It had the most interesting color. It was almost bright orange which I thought was cool. The only thing I could smell from this beer was candy corn, something that probably ruined the rest of the tasting for me. There wasn’t a ton of pumpkin flavor, but it was different enough to make it stand out. There was a hint of brown sugar to go along with the dry bitterness of the Pumpking. Overall, I thought it was missing some complexity. It’s deep flavor was its biggest plus but also its biggest downfall as it made it a little one-note. I don’t think I could even finish another glass of this beer.

Do you have a pumpkin beer that we simply have to taste? Shoot me a comment, or tweet me @EricaBauw!

This Season, In Television

13 Sep
There are so many reasons that fall is better than every other season, but right now one thing in particular is jumping out at me: television! All of my favorite shows are in the fall. There are only a handful of shows that I make it a point to tune in and watch, and they are all during this season. So many great characters that I love to absolute death.
Here are the 10 shows whose premiers I have marked on my calendar (with all times in EST). Why can’t every season be fall?

1. Saturday Night Live, Sept. 15
Season 38, Saturdays, 11:30 p.m., on NBC
While I am still in mourning over SNL‘s loss of my girl Kristin Wiig and Andy Samberg, I’m psyched for this upcoming season. It kicks off with Seth Macfarlane as the host, the hilariously inappropriate creator of Family Guy and one of my favorite movies of the summer, Ted. Plus, my favorite band Mumford and Sons will be performing on Sept. 22, just two days before their new album Babel- which I have been awaiting for months- is released.

2. Parks and Recreation, Sept. 20
Season 5, Thursdays, 9:30 p.m.,  on NBC
Leslie Knope. Tom Haverford. Ann Perkins, the beautiful tropical fish. Ben Wyatt. Ron F*cking Swanson. I have developed a very, very unhealthy personal bond with the hilariously lovable characters on P&R. Luckily I work in an office that has also fallen in love with Pawnee, Indiana. We’re no Parks department, but we’re still pretty awesome. As we are speaking, I am staring at my Swanson Pyramid of Greatness, drinking from my Pawnee Dept. of Parks and Recreation water bottle, and counting down the days until my boyfriend and I celebrate our new favorite holiday, Treat Yourself 2012 (held on Oct. 20, if you’re interested).

3. New Girl, Sept. 24
Season 2, Tuesdays, 8 p.m. on FOX
In the one season that New Girl was on, I became completely obsessed. It’s one of the funniest shows on television right now. I will actually be sitting around and think of a Schmidt one-liner and start laughing out loud to myself. And I find every occasion possible to use the word “chutney” (pronounced chutt-uhh-nee). And now I’m laughing again.

4. How I Met Your Mother, Sept. 25
Season 8, Tuesdays, 8 p.m. EST, on CBS
The last season left off with a whole world of scandal, and I’m ready to hear what’s up. I’m most excited by how dynamic Barney Stinson has become. Not just because NPH is a smoking hottie and this means I can see him more, but because I think he’s one of the most interesting characters there. And to be honest, I just want to meet the damn mother already. I know it’s the title of the show, but out with it, Ted!

5. 30 Rock, Oct. 4
Season 7, Thursdays, 8 p.m., on NBC
It’s no surprise that this show is my life blood. I mean you don’t have to know me or anyone that knows me for more than 10 minutes to realize it. It’s had an amazing seven seasons, with the best cast and the smartest lady in television behind the writing. But now it’s time to say goodbye, as they’ve announced it’s unfortunate end. While this final half-season will hang heavy on my heart, all good things must come to an end. I’ve gone through the stages of grief already, gone to my Mecca, (30 Rock, this summer. I even took a studio tour with a page!) and I’m prepared to just enjoy it while it lasts, and rewatch everything on Netflix, like, 8 times a day.

6. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Oct. 11
Season 8, Thursdays, 10 p.m., on FX
My friends and I have an It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia tradition dating back to my days at college. We all settle in to watch it, and drink wine out of Diet Coke cans. Now that we’re all adults (or whatever) and spread out across the country I’m hoping we can keep that ridiculous tradition alive wherever we are. It’s hard not to love this show. It is completely absurd, borderline overly offensive, and it makes fun of all the jerky things us human beings do. Plus it’s in the greatest city on Earth. How can you lose?

7.The League, Oct. 11
Season 4, Thursdays, 10:30 p.m., on FX
You don’t have to be a football fan to watch The League. The really genuinely dysfunctional relationships are what makes this show so funny in the first place. It focuses around the friends’ ultimate demise: their fantasy football league. Everyone has some sort of competition that can drive them crazy: for me it’s Quizzo and FourSquare mayorships. This show will make you feel a lot better about your own competitive edge.

8. The Walking Dead, Oct. 14
Season 3, Sundays, 9 p.m., on AMC
Zombies. Do I really need to say anything more?

9. American Horror Story, Oct. 17
Season 2, Wednesdays, 10 p.m., on FX
If you missed the first season of American Horror Story, you won’t miss much tuning into season two. The show starts over with a whole new plot line, but seeing that it’s set in a haunted asylum I’m assuming it will be equally as twisted and terrifying. It starts a few weeks before Halloween, so I’m already in the spooky mood and ready for a scare. This season sounds even more exciting than the last, so I would suggest tuning it.

10. Community, Oct. 19
Season 4, Fridays, 8:30 p.m. on NBC
Poor Community. I think it has gotten the short end of the stick in the last year, almost getting dropped entirely, then taking a hiatus for entirely too long before losing it’s creator to a serious case of the crazies and then being moved to Fridays. Well don’t worry, Greendale Seven, I am not giving up on you yet. Besides, it’s not like I do anything on the weekend anyway!

A Hair Tutorial You HAVEN’T Seen on Pinterest

13 Sep

I am a slave to Pinterest. Especially when it comes to clothes, makeup, nails… things I’m normally mildly clueless about.

If you find me on Pinterest, you will find an entire board dedicated to just hair styles and makeup, mostly I am constantly looking for ways to curl my hair. My hair doesn’t hold a curl. Don’t join the 23 years of hairdressers and friends in a dorm room with an expensive straightener and tell me “I can make it curl, they just didn’t do it right.” You’ll just look silly. It doesn’t curl. It falls in 10 seconds or less.

Out of the beach wave tutorials on my Pinterest, I have actually tried all of them, as opposed to just pinning it and never looking again. Half of them leave my head partially curled, then the rest slumped and weird looking, the other half turn my head into a frizzy nightmare that can’t even look acceptable in a bun.

So I’m sharing with you my beach curls that I’ve been using for years that actually works. And they’re legit, because I actually got this idea from going to the beach! When I had really long hair it would get knotted up from the waves, so I would French braid my hair into two braids before heading out. Then, when it dried I would take it out and have these amazing waves that actually lasted all day. So here is my super easy, super effective curly/wavy hair tutorial for girls who can’t get it right.

1. Add a small amount of product to the bottom half of wet hair. By wet I mean as soon as you get out of the shower. I use Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly mousse, mainly because it’s crazy cheap. Sure, you can use more expensive products… but why bother? It’s not like I’m styling my hair all the time.

If you dont have any products try adding a few tablespoons of salt to warm water and wetting your hair with that. After all, this is a beach hair inspiration, salt water was kind of what got this idea into my head in the first place.

2. Divide your still wet hair into 2-6 equal parts. The more divisions you make, the tighter the waves will be. I chose six, to get more of a curl and less of a loose wave, but usually I divide it into four. Plus, I always do this at night, right out of the shower and about an hour before I go to bed. That gives me 8 hours for my hair to dry. If you want your hair to stay clean and ready for night time, try doing two parts. The easiest way for me is to split my hair into a middle part like I was making pigtails, then divide each half into their own halves. Tie all of the parts off with their own hair tie.

3. French braid each individual section of your hair. Now here’s the thing: I am completely clueless when it comes to hair. I can do a basic ponytail, I can pin the front back with a bobby pin, and I can french braid. That is all I know how to do. If you are awful at everything like me, I guarantee you that you can learn to French braid your own hair. It is much easier than it looks, and there are 200 tutorials on YouTube and Pinterest. Once you learn a french braid, you can do so so much! Including this tutorial.

When your hair is done all it has to do is dry. When I want this to be clean and ready for the evening I use two braids, and pin the two braids back so that it looks like a neat style on the lower back of my neck that I can wear to work. Plus, once you braid your hair into more than two braids you kind of look like Snoop Dogg… and that’s awesome.

Got my mind on my money and my money on my mind…

4. When your hair is dry, unbraid and voila! It takes about 8 hours for particularly thick hair like mine, but for thinner hair it might take 5-6. No product needed at the end, it should last all day! Below is this mornings’ results, awkward smile and everything! You have to try this out. It’s so easy, especially when compared to all the crazy ideas to get the same results that people put on Pinterest.



Comment if you have any questions, or if you want to know which tutorials I have tried that have crashed and burned miserably.

First Day of Fall Fashion

11 Sep

This morning, I woke up to an open window and the crisp smell of fall. And I loved it.

Fall is, without a doubt, my absolute favorite time of the year. Perfect temperature, changing leaves, and the fashion! This morning I threw on the perfect fall kickoff outfit, and here it is!

Skinny Cords, $34 at Old Navy
I just got these corduroys a week or so ago, and they are the most comfortable pair of pants I own. They’re so soft, and they look amazing. And for a pair of corduroys, they’re pretty affordable!

I love this color: colorful skinny jeans are pretty much the number one thing you need to own this fall, but they make the wackiest colors, and seeing as I spend most of my time at work I can’t go running around looking like I just joined a boy band. This blue is a little bit edgy without being too… “wow! look at me!”

Mustard Infinity Scarf, $32 at Urban Outfitters
I actually just finished crocheting my own mustard yellow infinity scarf two days ago. That’s right, I’m crafty! Though I don’t suggest creating all your own pieces of clothing, it was a pretty fun way to get in the mood for fall.

Mustard yellow is my number one fall obsession. It’s one of my favorite colors, and it looks absolutely amazing this time of year. I even own a pair of skinny jeans that are mustard. This color goes with so many more colors than you’d think, and it doesn’t hurt that a scarf will keep you warm when it starts to cool down.

White Tee, $19.95 at Gap
I know, I know, it seems a little crazy to spend 20 bucks on a white t-shirt, but just trust me. I wear plain tshirts a lot, and I’ve realized that if you spend a few more bucks on a good shirt it makes all the difference in your outfit. It can make a casual outfit look a tad bit outdated. That next big step into buying better quality staples? Well, I guess that’s called growing up.

Anyway, I went with a simple white t-shirt because I really didn’t want to distract from the rest of the outfit. The shirt isn’t the best part!

Suede Booties, $50 at Macy’s
These boots are my newest obsession. They just… they look so darn cool! I wear them and all I do is stare at them all day… very little work productivity.

I really wanted some brown boots, but everyone’s going to have the same knee high brown leather boots. I wanted to mix things up a little bit. Oh my gosh, I just love looking at them here. Maybe I’ll just put them on until bed…

Gold Earrings, $24 at Lucky Brand
I’m a big fan of brushed gold with a black polish on them, especially in the fall. Things aren’t supposed to look shiny and new in the fall, with the leaves dying and the colors changing. This darker gold fits right into the scenery!

I don’t have these earrings, but since they’re 30 percent off at checkout I’m thinking of getting them. Lucky Brand makes such great jewelry that’s pretty affordable. And big, dangly earrings can really amp up a normal outfit.

Going Incognito Emerald Green Polish, by Essie
There are so many perks to this amazing color nail polish that I just bought the other day. One, it’s Essie, so it’s going to last forever when you put it on. Two, it’s a really pretty emerald green. And three, it’s Eagles green!! Go birds!!!

Essie runs a little more expensive than the average polish, but if you can find a beauty supply store nearby you can usually get it for 2 or 3 dollars cheaper.

Drink Like a Lady: Coming this Friday…

11 Sep

I am currently looking at 7 bottles of the country’s finest pumpkin ales, all crying to be opened and enjoyed. Check back Saturday for a full, detailed review on my favorites, plus what you should look for when picking your new favorite!