Are you smarter than an Escape Room?

 
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We always ride by a place called, Exit Strategies in our home town, but never thought much about it...Until one day, while watching Impractical Jokers.  Now, I'm not sure if you guys are familiar with that show (if not, you must watch it! it's hilarious) but, basically these four friends compete with each other in crazy funny challenges.  The loser has to be punished.  Well, this day I was telling you about, the loser had to be locked in an Escape room with a bunch of strangers and figure out the way out while also doing other outrageous things.  But my point is... the actual Escape Room thing seemed cool.

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I was curious, so I googled it.

I was stoked to find out that we had our own Escape Room (several, actually) facilities here in town!  The one Exit Strategies place I saw every day, being one of them.

This past weekend we gave it a shot.  After arguing among our little group about who was the smartest, we decided to see if we could beat the room.

We picked the RUINS room.  Indiana Jones-themed, this room (or rooms, rather) was beautifully decorated with artifacts, and a surplus of archaeological  objects, including a burial site with bones inside! (here comes the mummy), stone columns, skeleton keys, tribal idols, and sand....lots of sand.  Your task is to find your way out of the room by finding clues and solving puzzles.  find your way out, and you go into the next room, with a new set of puzzles to solve.  In the last room, you must find the golden skull and win the game.  

All this in under one hour.  60 minutes can go really fast when you freak out.

But don't panic too much! If you are stuck, you can ask your guide for help.  They will provide clues on how to solve your puzzle... they WON'T tell you how to do it, but they will point you in the right direction.  Our guide, Aaron was helpful and patient.  You know that they are observing you while you lose your hair trying to figure out the way, so we tried to keep calm...but Aaron probably laughed at us more than once (we were serious about proving who was smarter!)

Find the Golden Skull and you get out.  Were we smart enough to find it?

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Well...... It seems like we found it!

We escaped!! 

So, who was declared the smartest of us 6?... The best part is that we all had things to contribute to the task.  Each person in our little "Super 6" group discovered their strengths, and we all listened to each other.  It was a fantastic way to unite us and it is pretty satisfying to know you escape with time to spare.  We will have to find another way to vote on brain power. 

Sorry we couldn't take more pictures, but they're not allowed.  In fact, you must leave all your belonging, including cell phones, in a locker before you enter the room... so no one cheats.  

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Go visit your local escape room and have fun!  It's like traveling into a different world without leaving your town.  

Fun guaranteed! Have you done an Escape Room? Tell me more!!!!!! Please leave a comment below...

Till next time!

Alway, 

Mia 

Carolina Pride: What Football Makes You Feel

Our hometown of Charlotte, NC is also home to the awesome Carolina Panthers... I know, I know, if you are not from around here, you must be booing me right now, but listen! It's football season and we are Carolina proud (so let's deal with it).

 Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC.

Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC.

Let me tell you what I like about my Panther Nation.  Before I even knew anything about football (thanks to my hubby, I'm now an expert), I used to think that football was boring and quite stupid... I know! How could I?? But now, I absolutely LOVE to see the Panthers play, and win (hehehe).  The team is cohesive and the players are incredibly involved and committed to their community.  I love that. They, not only love football, but also their fans.  

I know you are probably saying...well, that's every team. I agree. They all should, but what I mean is that when you see it first hand, it's a rewarding feeling to know that those big gladiator-looking guys on the field are the same teddy-bear-like men out signing autographs and/or spending quality time with kids and people in their community.  

Football is not only about the competitiveness of the sport, but also about the feeling of joy and pride you get when your team does well; and the same goes when your team doesn't win and they still leave the field with their heads up, cheering each other in the process. 

It's about the sense of belonging to something greater than yourself. 

It's the satisfaction of watching every first down, and celebrating every touchdown.  

Football is about community and togetherness, because when we are watching football, we are all one.  It doesn't matter your race, your age, your religion, your orientation...When we watch football, we all belong to the same team.

And that's why these athletes are so significant to us.  Because we watch them every season, not only with our eyes, but with our hearts; and what they do on and off of the field has meaning to you, to me, and to any fan. 

These athletes have the power to make us laugh, scream with joy, cry of frustration, and also, hug each other in celebration.  YES, football makes us do all that.  And when our sport heros takes a stand (or a knee) to show support for their community, for those who don't have a voice, for the ones that are mistreated due to prejudice, they are doing that for you and not to disrespect our nation.  On the contrary... they do it to try to bring the nation together by creating a dialgoue. 

I've heard many people say "just play football and stop the protesting on the field".  But I just explained that football is NOT just throwing a ball and scoring touchdowns.  It's about a very complex system of feelings that run through our bodies, and evoke a sense of belonging, a sense of community, a sense of family. 

When your team scores, you FEEL happy, you celebrate, you feel the euphoria through your veins.  So, don't tell them to just play football, because if that was the case, football would be dead. There's no football without the feelings that I just described.  

Our players have a voice that is heard loud and clear.  We should be proud that they choose to use that voice to speak for those who can't.  I patiently wait for the day that people can see that...obviously, the hardheadedness (for lack of a better word) of some fans sometimes goes beyond my comprehension, and goes beyond common sense, and human nature.  Sometimes we forget that we are all humans and we harshly judge, and misjudge each other...but I'm going to stop here and leave it at that.

This football season, I will wear my Carolina jersey with pride, and I will cheer for my team, whether they take a knee or stand; hug my neighbors, respect others who are different from me, and be kind to those in my community.  Because peace starts at home, near you, in your town... be the difference today, and tomorrow you will see the change. (And all that good energy will reflect on your team, and maybe help them win the Superbowl!- wishful thinking ) 

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Cheer your team with a sense of belonging and you will see the joy that I'm talking about.

GO PANTHERS! KEEP POUNDING!

Mia

 

Salud! Great beer from a craft Cerveceria.

In our hometown of Charlotte, NC, there’re always a lot of cool events happening daily.  There’re also many different districts, and parts of the city that host events constantly, and where you are almost always guaranteed a great time. 

One of our favorite areas is NoDa (the North Davidson area) which is known for its artsy laid back atmosphere, and craft beer breweries. We visit NoDa often, and it never disappoints. 

Right next to the corner of North Davidson and 36th St, there is a little beer shop called Salud.  Well, our friends from Salud, decided to venture into brewing their own beer a while back, and this past weekend they opened their brand-new brewery on the second floor of their beer shop. 

At 3100 sq feet, Salud Cerveceria is so cozy you feel as if you were hanging out in your best friend’s place. The decorations, the attention to detail, every single piece that adorns this place was handpicked and thought of with exact precision. You can’t deny the originality (and the good taste) as soon as you walk through their doors.

My favorites? The walls covered by book-pages at the entrance and bathrooms (I hope the books were recycled!), the gorgeous wooden floors, the over-sized shuffleboard, the small hanging plants that embellish the place (which are also for sale!), the colorful mural in the stage area, the living room atmosphere, and of course, the beer!

Did I mention that the place hosts their own art gallery featuring local artists? All items are for sale and they will change monthly. 

With 14 beers on tap, you can choose from IPA’s to Saisons, and everything in between, including non-alcoholic options.  The Raspberry IPA was to die for, too bad they sold out too soon… it was a popular choice and everyone wanted a taste of it. Names like Mesa para uno, Estacion, and Negra Bretta, are not only quite creative but also invoke the rich Latin flavor in each and every beer they craft.

So, needless to say my friends, the owners Jason, and Dairelyn Glunt shined like stars with the grand opening of this remarkable brewery, where you can not only taste great beer, but also hang out, drink some good coffee, sample their tea, and have a fantastic time. A truly remarkable story of hard work and dedication for what they love, that shows in every aspect of their business.

Wait! I haven’t told you, they also have enough room to dance! Bring it on Salsa!

One thing I thought that was quite fantastic… for the grand opening, they had piñatas for guests to enjoy…. This says it all…. It was a piñata a lot of people enjoyed beating.  (I’m still laughing inside).

So, next time you are in Charlotte, NC, stop by Salud Cerveceria, and when you are done having fun, follow the path downstairs, take some beer home from their shop, and have a bite to eat courtesy of Fud-at Salud, which has also been featured in Diners, Drive Ins and Dives by Guy Fieri! Yeah, it’s that good. 

Salud!

Great beer from a craft Cerveceria.

 

 

BEER FEST: Brews, Food, and Good Friends.

Oh beer, how we love thee! You all know that we LOVE craft beer and, fortunately for us, craft beer has become one popular house item (well, at least in our house).  Everywhere you go, craft beer breweries are constantly popping up and seem that they here to stay! That makes me happy.  

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I was a light beer kinda girl before I met hubby (so was he), but for a few years now, we like to explore and play with beer flavors and visit breweries everywhere we go.

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So needless to say, we make it a point to go to Oktoberfest in Helen, GA every year, and to attend as many craft beer festivals in the area as we can.  

 

There are MANY beer fests in our hometown of Charlotte, NC. Moo & Brew has a good one every year, and we make every effort to attend and sample goodness.  

 

 Recently, we attended the Southend Hops Festival, benefiting the RescueMe dog rescue.  Southend Hops Fest featured 40 North Carolina and South Carolina breweries.  My favorites? The Corban Avenue Honey Blonde from Twenty Six Acres Brewery (Concord, NC)... AND a Mango IPA, which I cannot remember the brewery to save my life (shame on me).  

Craft Beer Fests are incredibly fun and relaxing. Taste some beer, eat some great food from the food trucks, bring your dog, have fun with friends and even make new friends... my type of fun.

 

It's easy to get hammered really fast (since most fests start at lunch time), so always remember to pace yourself, and drink lots of water...and eat! That helps. I'm talking from experience, folks!

On an exciting note, our friends from SALUD in NoDa (Charlotte, NC) are opening a brewery this weekend! I will be posting pictures and a review on their beer too.

Next step for us? A visit to Asheville, NC. I cant wait to try the many, many breweries and sample all their brews. I mean, brewing beer is an art!

RELATED: GOODHOPS BREWERY REVIEW, WILMINGTON, NC

So stay vigilant of any beer fests in your area, go try it and enjoy your beers! I'm liking IPA's now....who would've thought?

Always,

MIA

Christmas lights! from NASCAR's Charlotte Speedway to Christmas Town USA.

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One of our (many) holiday traditions is to visit Christmas shows, tree lightings, and of course Christmas light shows around our area. Fortunately for us, we don't have to travel far to experience the best Christmas light shows in the Carolinas. The two places we visited this year were, not only breathtaking, but full of the Christmas spirit we were looking to find! 

Charlotte, NC is famous for many things, and among those, NASCAR.  Home to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, we also house the Charlotte/Concord Motor Speedway. Just a short drive outside the city, the Speedway presents races like the All-Star Race and the Coca Cola 600, as well as many other events and car shows year-round.  

From November 19 through December 31, the Speedway Christmas is the place to go. One word of advice, come in early so you don't have to wait too long to get in. Gates open at 6pm and you will have the opportunity to drive your own car on the tracks! (not at race speed though) Cover is $30 per car. Signage will direct you inside the speedway grounds, and through a magnificent spectacle of thousands of lights dancing to Christmas music. You can tune your car radio to their personalized station and listen to the music in your own car.

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The perfectly synchronized Christmas lights move to the Christmas jingles making your spirit bright...and if that doesn't put you in a jolly mood, stop at the movie drive-in and Christmas village.  The village includes a walk through, live nativity set, petting zoo (with beautiful, well-taken care of animals), carnival rides, carriage rides, local vendors, great food, and of course, pictures with Santa!.  

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The Charlotte Motor Speedway light show is a tradition every year in our family.  We come in prepared with warm outfits, hats and gloves since it can get chilly at night, and it's best to enjoy the outside attractions when you are comfy and warm.  

 

McADENVILLE, NC

Another amazing Christmas light adventure is also a short drive south of Charlotte, NC.  The nationally famous, McAdenville, also known as Christmas Town USA is located between exits 42-47 on I-85.

Arrive after dusk, and this quaint little community comes alive with Christmas festivities. You can choose you park and walk the streets, taking in the sights or slowly drive through the pre-selected route through the streets guided by local officers. If you choose to walk, bundle up and make sure you put on your walking shoes! Stop in at the town center and enjoy some hot chocolate and sweet from the bakery! Christmas music can be heard playing through the streets and don't miss the beautiful water lights at the pond. The attention to detail and originality of the decorations is truly breathtaking.

McAdenville is open for the month of December from 5:30pm-9:30pm on weeknights and until 11:00pm on weekends and is open to the public free of charge! Be sure to check out the community page for exciting and fun events going on during the month of December!