Sunday, September 8, 2013

Columbia & Asheville, South Carolina, United States

Hello everyone!

Sorry for the FK hiatus - Real Kelly has been a little busy with a new job, and then FK had quite the adventure herself when she ended up lost in the US Postal system. Oops! That story will come a bit later though. For now, check out her adventures with Beta Reader Extraordinaire - Lindsay! 

Flat Kelly arrived in the midst of a terrible summer cold AND in the middle of a holiday week (July 4th) so unfortunately she had to spend some time holed up in the post office.  Let me tell you that she was NOT pleased with that.
The other unfortunate fact was that she arrived in the middle of the rainiest season I've ever seen since I moved to SC 14 years ago.  It rained every day for SIX WEEKS.  Another thing she was not overly impressed with.
As soon as FK and I met, we were instant besties...  

Obviously - you have a giant Marilyn poster! What's not to love? 

I spent most of that first day talking about the famous people who started in Columbia/South Carolina.  I know how much she's into pop culture and I thought I could impress her by dropping some names.  However, during  her entire stay, we didn't see ONE famous person. /sigh
Our first day out, we decided to hit the theaters by seeing "Man of Steel."

We both agreed that Henry Cavill is super dreamy and we were really excited to see him take his shirt off.  And trust me, on the big screen?  Those blue eyes are something else.
It was a quiet couple of days before we headed out together again.  Our next stop was the following Wednesday for my weekly writer's critique group.

In this picture FK is giving helpful notes to Jessica's horror story about a serial killer teacher.  It was really good! (FK loves to read works from aspiring writers!) 
The next day, FK and I met up with my coworker Neyua and headed over to Pawley's Front Porch.  It was featured on the show, "Diners, Drive Ins & Dives."  It's a super cute, very southern, burger joint where you can get some seriously weird burgers that are (supposedly) really good.  Neyua had never been there either and she was also really excited to meet FK. (Unfortunately, we didn't think to get a picture of Neyua WITH FK - silly.)
The menu for PFP.  You can see some of the weird concoctions they have...

FK was not impressed with some of the menu options.

However, once I told her what I was getting, she was really happy.  Jalapeno smoked bacon with cheddar on a keiser roll? SO delicious! 

Mmmm - that DOES look super delicious! 

This is the inside of the restaurant.  It's got a bar and is super popular in an area known as 5 Points.  This is the local college bar district in Columbia.

It looks like a cool place! And also, I'm hungry now. 

Off topic, but do you ever wonder how many photos you're in the background in? I do! 

Sarah McLachlan's "Remember You" came on the radio and neither one of us were impressed with the song choice.  It certainly didn't scream "summer burger joint" to us.

No, it does not. It screams "depressing animal commercial" instead

After that it was pretty quiet in Columbia.  Our plans for a zoo trip and some historic downtown walking were dashed when the rain refused to let up.  We were both really disappointed.
FK decided to extend her stay by a day when she found out that I had a business trip in Asheville, North Carolina.  Asheville is known for being a really artsy town with a strong hippie vibe.  It's also nestled in the Appalachian mountains and is really beautiful.  Because FK was a stowaway on this trip, we only got one picture...

My manager, Teresa, is a seriously fast driver and it was hard to get pictures from inside of the car.
However, on our way out of town we TRIED to drive through the Biltmore Estate that is located in Asheville.  We got up to the gate and they refused to let us drive through without paying ridiculous amounts of money to get in.  We did manage to snap a few pictures on our short drive up to the front gate.

It's a sprawling estate that was once owned (might still be, I'm not sure) by the Vanderbilt family.  It is known for its impressive gardens and especially its holiday decorations during the winter.
The next morning, bright and early, I packed Flat Kelly up and sent her off to Stacey where she took off for Ireland.  (Not without a few misadventures along the way!)

Thank you so much, Lindsay! It looks like Flat Kelly had a really great time while she was in South Carolina. Most importantly, she got to eat some super delicious food, which is always a plus since FK is a bit of a foodie.

Up next: Flat Kelly goes to Ireland! Well, at least a version of her gets to... stay tuned! 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Iowa, Illinois, & Wisconsin, United States

And Flat Kelly is back again! Unfortunately I had some issues with the website when I originally tried to post this, but FK had a lovely time with Sheena gallivanting around the Midwest. Read below for their adventures together....

Flat Kelly arrived in Iowa, safe and sound, on June 11th. Sadly, she came during a time when we did not have a lot going on so we took her to our local favorites and a few touristy places in the area. First, we settled her into her guest house and let her get some rest before teaching her about farm life.

Um, FK is obviously living the sweet life

The following morning was one of the few that wasn't rainy so we took her outside and shower her our yard...


and even let her drive a tractor, which was a terrifying experience for everyone involved. 

Hide yo' children! Hide yo' wife! That is seriously terrifying. FK can't even see over the steering wheel. 

Sadly, I neglected to get a picture of her with any of the pigs and other farm animals so, instead, enjoy a picture of Flat Kelly during a "Stache-ion Show"). 


We ran errands...

and took her to the library where she put on a play with Anna and Lamb Chops. Fun times were had by all. 

Spending time with Monster #1 and Lamb Chops is a great day in my book!

In an attempt to get Flat Kelly some culture, we drove her to Galena, Illinois and took her to the home of our 18th President, Ulysses S. Grant. 

And she posed with the former first lady. 

On the way home we made a quick stop at the mall in Dubuque where she rode on a school bus with Charlie. 

FK was not impressed with Monster #2's driving abilities... 

And then on we went to Dyersville, Iowa where they filmed The Field of Dreams. 

People come from all over the world to visit and now Flat Kelly has made her mark here too. 

Real Kelly will have to find FK's signature some day!

No trip to Iowa would be complete without a trip to some of Kelly's favorite places like Independence, Iowa. 

What up, Indy? Glad to see you're not flooded this year. 

Oh, Pizza Ranch. How I don't miss thee. 

You tried to trick me into thinking this was a writer's retreat, didn't you?!

We took her to Cedar Rapids to one of Kelly's favorite stores where we were briefly separated, but it wasn't that hard to figure out where she would be hiding...

Of course! Where else would she have been? 

Also in Cedar Rapids, we took her to The Lumberyard 2 (where real men go to get wood). 

My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, and they're like it's better than yours...

Damn right, it's better than yours I could teach you, but I'd have to charge... yeah, no. I can't do this. Way to be skeevy, Lumberyard. 

And then back to Manchester where we stopped at my favorite bar, Beavers, and had a few drinks. That is a seriously awful picture of me but the drinks were delicious :) 

Pffft, this is not an awful picture. We were just getting our drink on! 

On her last day here, we took her to McGregor and Marquette, Iowa where we visited Pikes Peak...

The Lady Luck riverboat casino where we lost $20...

and what trip to Iowa would be complete without a picture next to a giant pink elephant? 

No trip would be complete without it! 

Since we were so close, we crossed the border with her and took a picture in Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin before heading back home. 

FK is not impressed. Really, Wisconsin, all you have going for you is your cheese curds. 

Flat Kelly's final night ended with a bang when she invited some of her new friends over and raided the liquor cabinet. 

Goodness FK! I hope that you at least helped pick up after yourself, you little heathen you. 

Things got a little out of hand and Flat Kelly was a bit hung over the next morning, so I took her out for coffee before I sent her on to Lindsay. UNFORTUNATELY my picture didn't turn out so you're just going to have to take my word for it ;) 

I have received confirmation that FK did make it over to the East Coast with Lindsay. She had a most excellent time with Sheena in her old stomping grounds, however, so thanks for showing her such a great time! Additionally, we are *thisclose* to meeting our goal of 25 cities! Sheena has brought the stats up to...

24 cities
5 states (Vermont, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin)
4 countries (United Kingdom, Netherlands, Canada, and the US)

And the year is only half over! Thanks everyone :) I've said it once and I'll say it again... Flat Kelly is one of the best ideas I've had in a very long time! 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Grand Rapids & Rogers City, Michigan, United States

After Flat Kelly's lost weeks in Canada, she was shipped back to the United States for a grand tour! And her first stop was Grand Rapids, Michigan with the always awesome Nicole. Keep on reading for Nicole's account of their time together!

Flat Kelly was very busy from the moment she arrived in Grand Rapids! She arrived and went straight for celebratory drinks to celebrate Nicole's sister Jessica's new job.

Then, we didn't do anything for a couple of days, but then there was the New Found Glory Concert

Then it was Memorial Day weekend and not a lot happened. Nicole had a lot going on at work, and it was raining and cold, and yeah. We watched a lot of tv. There aren't any pictures of that, but we watched a lot of Hoarding: Buried Alive. For Kelly's final weekend in Michigan, we headed up north (almost to the Mackinac Bridge, but not quite.) We attended my soon to be cousin Amy's bridal shower, and had a pretty good time. Rogers City, Michigan is famous for a few things. 1st up: Shipwrecks. Rogers City sits directly on Lake Huron and is the home of the world's largest limestone quarry. The shower was at a restaurant called The Lighthouse, and as you can see, Kelly enjoyed the murals on the wall.. and had to have a Titanic moment. 

(How could you NOT have this photo op?)

The room we had the shower in was decorated as a flower garden, and again, we had some fun posing in the daisies.

Then we headed over to Plath's Meat Market. No, it's not a strip club. Plath's is world famous for their prime rib, sausages and various other cuts of meat. You can't come to Rogers City and not pose with the Plath's hot dog. In fact, we had to wait in line behind a little boy who was posing with his finger stuck up the hot dog's nose. Good times.

(That's Nicole and Flat Kelly together - and Nicole's outfit is totally cute)

After that, we took a little drive down to Lake Huron, but it was so overcast, you can't quite tell the lake from the sky. You can however, see the huge Lady Liberty Fist of Freedom that is built entirely of steel. We did not get to see the pirate ship, the soldier's head, or the eagle, but really.. the Fist of Freedom is pretty awesome.

You would think after that, Nicole and Kelly would just hang out at Nicole's mom's house and lay low. Oh no. All sorts of shenanigans happen at Nicole's mom's house..

Real Life Kelly is super jealous of this Princess Di cardboard cutout. 

Dinosaur attack - say what?! 

Needless to say, Nicole and Kelly had a great time in Michigan!

And I had a great time going through the photos! Thank you very much for hosting Flat Kelly as she returned to the US and for helping me to live many of my pop-culture dreams (Titanic photo shoot, Jurassic park re-enactments, meeting Princess Di... good times, Michigan, good times). 

Up next - FK heads to the Midwest!