Square Life Round World

I'm navigating through this round world while living a square life, and it fits exactly as it should.

Memphis Brooks Museum Avant Garde Party

Last Sunday, I attended the Memphis Brooks Museum Avant Garde Party, an annual event for fellow level members and above.  I had really been looking forward to it, and it did not disappoint! 

When we arrived, there was a red carpet to welcome us, which was fun! 

Red Carpet for Brooks Museum Avant Garde Party

Red Carpet for Brooks Museum Avant Garde Party

We were greeted with our choice of wine or champagne before we ever even entered the museum. 

Welcome glass of wine or champagne

Welcome glass of wine or champagne

That’s my idea of a welcome!  There was live entertainment set up inside the museum as well as on the patio. 

Live Entertainment

Live Entertainment

They also had these neat little lounges arranged all over the place, indoors and out. 

Several lounges were set up all over the party.

Several lounges were set up all over the party.

The atmosphere was really artsy and fun!

The food was insane!  Servers were walking around carrying trays of things.  I had cold shrimp with a lemon vinaigrette, a sausage and rice ball with spicy mustard, and the single best thing of the night, which was crostini with tomato jam, smoked pork, and a verde sauce.  Yum!  Then there were several tables of food set up, too. 

Lots of food!

Lots of food!

Sandwiches, carving stations, potato bites, stuffed mushrooms, fried oysters, shrimp and grits, smoked chicken salad with roasted beets, and grilled veggie skewers were all there and more! 

Grilled veggie skewers

Grilled veggie skewers

Desserts included a watermelon and feta salad, custard bars, and some sort of yogurt soup with blueberries.  It was all so very good!

Drinks were freely flowing as well.  One of the stars was a station serving mint julep snow cones. 

Mint Julep Snow Cones

Mint Julep Snow Cones

These would be so perfect on a hot summer day.  There was also a bourbon bar with about 7 different kinds of bourbon set up. 

Bourbon Bar

Bourbon Bar

I tried a honey bourbon and a blackberry bourbon.  I was so surprised at how different bourbons can be.  I didn’t think I liked it other than in a mint julep (shocker since I went to college in Kentucky) but now I think I’m a bourbon convert.  They had the main bars set up on the patio serving wine, beer, martinis and a couple of specialty cocktails they made for the event.  The one I tried was called a Lazy Sunday Afternoon and featured basil vodka.

They also had corn hole set up on the patio, which we didn’t get a chance to play.  They had a ring toss game set up inside that we did play. 

Ring Toss

Ring Toss

We were given three rings each, and if we were able to toss one of our three rings onto a bottle, we got a Carroll Cloar poster (the summer exhibit at the museum).  I was lucky and won a poster!

This was also the last opportunity to tour the Carroll Cloar exhibit so I had to take one last peek at it.

Carroll Cloar Exhibit

Carroll Cloar Exhibit

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How To Avoid (Or At Least Postpone) The Post Vacation Blues

I don’t know about you but I always seem to come down with a serious case of the post vacation blues (PVB) after returning from a big trip. I was expecting my most recent case to be really bad since it was such an awesome vacation. However, my first week back was so incredibly busy and fun-filled that I didn’t have time to suffer. Here’s what I did.

First off, we usually have to stop for the night on the way back from Disney, and this normally means a business-travel-type hotel. That’s usually my first slap-in-the-face from the real world and is a stark contrast to the magical accommodations I’ve been accustomed to for the previous week. This time, however, we made a detour to Biloxi, MS to spend the night at the Beau Rivage Hotel and Casino. Even though it’s still not quite the fairy tale of a Disney cruise ship, it has a very vacationy feel to it. Everyone is still happy, and there’s no real world slap. The $43 I won within 10 minutes of playing the slots helped as well.

Our view from the Beau Rivage Tower--I'm not complaining!

Our view from the Beau Rivage Tower–I’m not complaining!

The first few days back from work were relatively event-free, which always helps. I didn’t have a mess to return to, and nothing earth-shattering happened while I was away, so no PVB-inducing work needed to be done to fix anything.

Then on Wednesday after returning, I went to an outdoor concert at Levitt Shell, which is an amphitheater in Overton Park, located in Midtown Memphis. Levitt Shell is a free venue, and people simply bring their chairs or blankets, coolers filled with their favorite libations and noshes, and maybe a few dollars for food trucks and an optional donation to the band. Most of the time these concerts are held on the weekends but this one was a make-up date from a previously rained-out show. The band was mediocre but the vibe was cool and it turned out to be a very relaxing evening.

Free outdoor concert at Levitt Shell

Free outdoor concert at Levitt Shell

The very next night, on Thursday, I got to volunteer with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at Target House Bingo. In case you missed it, read all about it here.

On Friday, I got to play hooky from work for the afternoon and attended the Fed Ex St. Jude Classic, an annual PGA golf tournament in Memphis.

Fed Ex St. Jude Classic Tickets

Fed Ex St. Jude Classic Tickets

Fed Ex St. Jude Classic Entrance

This year, the biggest player in the tournament was Phil Mickelson, winner of 4 majors, including the Masters. It was funny because almost the entire grounds crowd, including me, was following Phil from hole to hole.

Almost everyone was following Phil Mickelson.

Almost everyone was following Phil Mickelson.

Apparently, cameras were not allowed, and I got reprimanded when I took this shot.

Phil Mickelson at the Fed Ex St. Jude Classic

Phil Mickelson at the Fed Ex St. Jude Classic

They didn’t kick me out or confiscate my phone, though, so it’s all good. The Golf Channel was there filming, being super-serious.

The Golf Channel Camera Man

The Golf Channel Camera Man

Unfortunately, I can’t recall who won the tournament, but I know it wasn’t Phil. It made for a relaxing, PVB-avoiding afternoon, though.

Then that night I was invited to the opening of The Crossroads of Memory: Carroll Cloar and the American South, a new art exhibit at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.

Faculty and Honor Roll Students, Lewis School by Carroll Cloar

Faculty and Honor Roll Students, Lewis School by Carroll Cloar

I’m a member of the Brooks, and this was a perk of membership. The wine was freely flowing, and there were tables practically overflowing with cheese, crackers, and fruit. The exhibit itself was beautifully curated and seemed to go on forever. Room after room was filled with his art depicting the rural American South of days gone by. It was all so gorgeous and detailed. I cannot even begin to imagine the amount of time it took him to create each piece.

After that, I capped my evening and first week back from vacation at Chiwawa, a new bar in Midtown Memphis’s Overton Square that serves Mexican influenced bar food and drinks. This is definitely not your typical Tex-Mex, pick-a-number-from-one-to-twenty-three type places. I wouldn’t exactly call it upscale, either, though. It’s more of a hip, modern place with a Mexican flare. I started off with a Strawberry Watermelon Sno Cone topped with vodka and some guacamole with chips. The “drink” was so refreshing! It appears as though there was a lot of ice, but it was plenty strong. The guacamole was chunky and flavorful, and the chips were house made. I followed that up with a brisket taco and a pulled pork taco (pastor style). Both had the most inventive and delicious house made toppings and were so good! I also had their version of Mexican street corn, which is slathered with mayo, cheese and other spices. I’m pretty sure they also soak it in milk or something because every kernel popped and exploded with juiciness with each bite. I would say it was the best corn I’ve ever had, and I’m not really a corn fan.

Chiwawa Memphis

Chiwawa Memphis

It was the perfect ending to a week of avoiding PVB!

How do you recover from PVB?

If you haven’t figured out by now, St. Jude is my favorite charity. I’m running in the St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon in December, and I’m trying to raise $500 for the kids of St. Jude. Please visit my fundraising page here, and I would love it if you can make a donation. Any amount helps.

Also, follow me on Twitter @myglasssneaker.

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