Monday, November 22, 2010

Trailer Trad Grooming: Make Your Own Aftershave FAIL

Wouldn't it be great to have an aftershave that smelled real? By that I mean that most department store aftershaves (even expensive ones) smell good I guess but what do they really SMELL like? Take a whiff of that stuff you've got in your medicine cabinet. It smells like..... what? -And they all smell the same! Time to be adventurous and make your own!

Blogs like 'Badger and Blade', 'The Art of Manliness' and 'Unchained' list a common recipe for making your very own bayrum aftershave. It is really easy (compared to making your own beer, anyway) and I've got a couple of tips that make it even easier.

It calls for a rum base with a little water with bay leaf oils extracted into it. That's the starting point for a bay rum. After this step, you can customize it in any number of ways. Here's the first short cut I'll offer. You've seen my entry on Superior 70 Alcoholado, haven't you? ....Haven't you? It is made in Puerto Rico by The Puerto Rico Distilling Co. It's sold as rubbing alcohol combined with the Bay leaf's essential oils. Using Superior 70 enables you to skip the above step while saving your rum (combine that with Barritt's Ginger Beer for the perfect Dark n' Stormy and you won't care what you smell like).

Since this was my first time trying this, I made a Frankenstein's brew of cloves, spearmint leaves, cinnamon, orange zest, and other spices. I obtained the assistance of Lil' Bean for the ingredient combining process. -She's made her own, less jumbled, scent and it probably came out better than mine. The second cost saving short cut I'll offer regards the spices used.

As I've mentioned before when discussing Dr. Woods Peppermint Castile Soap, Whole Foods normally isn't the first place you think of when you think of bargains. -But this is a good one. When you need spices like cloves or allspice as well as harder to find spices, go to their bulk spice isle and buy the stuff by the ounce. -It's a REALLY cost-effective way to experiment with spices. (As an aside, roast a chicken with their 'herbs de provence' spice mix from the bulk isle and that lady you're cooking for will be really impressed.)

We carefully placed the ingredients into the Superior 70 bottles and stored them under the sink for two weeks. We then strained the mixture through coffee filters into a vintage lab bottle with a cut-glass stopper. The color was very similar to my own Pinaud Clubman bayrum and smelled a little like it. Not awful for a first attempt but not quite up to splashing on before a night out.

Most recipes for bay rum aftershave call for zesting citrus fruit. Since we weren't using the peel in an actual food recipe, we peeled oranges and just scraped most of the white rind off. I also think that I used too much ground clove. My aftershave came out smelling like the cooking pan of a Christmas ham. -Not really what I was looking for. I would suggest actually zesting lemons, limes or even grapefruits or a cleaner, brighter fragrance.

This process can be modified to suit the season too. In the spring, make it very citrusy along with rosemary, mint, thyme or ginger. For cooler weather or for around Christmas, add more cloves, allspice, cinnamon, even tobacco or woods like sandlewood.

It was a fun experiment but I don't think that the folks at Creed have anything to worry about just yet.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Trailer Trad Collecting: Autumn Picking

Autumn's here and while that's often good for antique shows and such, it's not as good for yard sales and estate sales (the spring and summer are often better for those). know me. Out before dawn looking for that 'rusty gold' as that guy on TV says. The Flea Market is still the best place to look over junk. But it's like everything else. Ten percent of the dealers bring out 90% of the good junk. The rest of the dealers bring out the same tired old crap and ask too much for it.

I got this old industrial steel lamp shade at the flea market last week. It's from the 20's approx. and originally came out of a victorian washboard factory building in the Boylan Heights neighborhood of Raleigh. It's much older and crustier than most of the old industrial shades that you see.

Most yard sales are a complete waste of time. That's why I only go to ones that are in North Raleigh close by. -They're not typically worth wasting gas over. However, I have found a few interesting things.

I bought a pair of oak showcases at a yard sale in my neighborhood recently. The guy selling them was given them when he was helping demolish UNC Chapel Hill's old Medical School. They housed exhibits in its museum room. The manufacturer's label dates them to the 40's approximately.

I picked up this Bavarian antler mount at a yard sale in the Oakwood neighberhood downtown. It's an old mounting of a little antelope or mountain goat I think. The oak mounting plaque has its original dry finish and looks cooler in person!

This poster featuring the Native American dates from the 1940s. Original, old advertising has become much harder to find so I tryed getting some through a Midwestern contact who goes through old warehouses and factories out there and gets amazing stuff. The Maine potato posters came from the same source.

I picked up the oak teachers desk recently and fixed it up a little using my secret weapons (a certain finish stripper and a certain refinisher). Not a world beater by any means but not bad for the $5 that I paid for it. I could have picked up more furniture of this type recently but I passed. They take up too much space and are kind of hard to haul in my Volvo V70 wagon.

There's a dealer at the flea market that always has good stuff. He sets up at Round Top, Brimfield and other great shows. I traded a 60's 'flower power' bedspread for this diner plate advertising a long-defunct restaurant called 'Yummies.'

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Back Home in Virginia: Mothers Rugby Thriller

My trip back to Virginia concluded with a stop off in Richmond to see my old college rugby club The Mothers compete for the Division II State Championship. They were unbeaten going into the Ed Lee Cup and were to go up against a very good James Madison University club who they had beaten earlier in the season.

However, The Mothers lost a couple of key starters in non-rugby injuries during the previous week and lost their main 'line-out' jumper during the Radford semifinals.

The brutual physicality and lightning pace of the action were striking. Both clubs played very, very hard. By the middle of the game, our side had three additional starters go down to injuries. Luckily, they all walked off the field on their own power. The large size of JMU's pack gradually wore down our smaller guys a bit. But through force of will The Mothers stood tall, coming away just a couple of points short. Their season is not over since they will have a good seed in the MARFU (Mid Atlantic Rugby Football Union) championship tournament. If our guys can heal up quickly, I would not bet against them.

Because I was so amped by the effort that I had witnessed and so proud of my old club The Mothers, I was wide awake for the remaining trip back to Raleigh.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Back Home in Virginia: Alma Mater Afternoon

Visiting the ol' collegiate stomping grounds in the late afternoon casts a decidedly different light on the campus. Brightly illuminated Doric or Corinthian columns in the morning are replaced by long shadows cast by the ancient shade trees and the bittersweet cascade of fallen leaves.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Back Home in Virginia: The Montpelier Races

November 6th was a beautiful day for the Montpelier Races held in Orange County VA. The Oak and Hickory leaves had begun changing while the afternoon sunshine warmed the crowds mingling from tailgate to tailgate and who,every once in a while, turned their gaze upward to observe the racing action.

'Team Kathryn' (the little charmer in the middle) trudges across the pasture towards the racing action.

The race course stretches across hundreds of acres so it is especially exciting when the horses and riders appear at the stretch thundering towards the finish.

I think part of the charm of Montpelier Races is that, while there is enough water-proofed Barbour fabric to cover an infield during a rain delay, there are also many locals in deer hunting attire and jeans (like my brother Stretch). -Makes the whole thing very Trailer Trad!

The Montpelier Races is kind of a homecoming for me and it was great to catch up with old highschool friends and family at a great event like that. My Grandfather was Mariam Dupont Scott's cattle foreman at Montpelier for many years during the 1950s and 1960s and those rolling hills always stir something in me.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Back Home in Virginia: Alma Mater Morning

On my trip back home to the Old Dominion up from The Old North State, I decided to drop by my alma mater and see how the campus is holding up. On a beautiful autumn morning, it doesn't look too shabby, does it?

The President's house? The campus art museum? Nope. It's the cafeteria. And huge keg parties used to held in the basement. Even though it was surrounded by Corinthean columns and the dining tables always had fresh table linens, it was still cafeteria food.

This is where I studied Art History and Studio Art. My art grades were pretty mediocre. I've worked on it a bit since then.

This is where French and Italian kicked my tail.

This is the building where I spent most of my time as an Economics major. The scaffolding is probably there to repair the damaged incurred by the wrecking ball that was my Statistics and Quantitative Methods grade point average.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Back Home in Virginia: Olde Town Alexandria

My weekend trip back to Virginia began in Olde Town Alexandria where I met up with some friends. A stroll along the cobblestone streets and historic row houses on a crisp autumn morning will invigorate any travel weary trad! A great breakfast at the Royal was icing on the cake.

Good fences may make good neighbors but great garages make great homes!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

If Ty Webb Owned An Inn: Pinehurst's Pinecrest Inn (reshown)

"I don't play golf against people...for money."
- Ty Webb
"What are you, religious or something?"
- Al Czervik
To paraphrase Caddyshack's Ty Webb, Pinehurst's Pinecrest Inn is not just about golf or making money. For decades, the Pinecrest Inn has provided a home away from home for golfers who want a relaxing atmosphere, great food and good times at a cut-rate price.

The village of Pinehurst in the Sandhills region of North Carolina is famous for golf. Specifically, Pinehurst Resort's course Pinehurst No. 2. It is perhaps one of the four or five most famous courses in the world and is rich with history. It captures the essence and history of golf as only St. Andrews, Augusta National and Pebble Beach do in the minds of golfers everywhere.

So many memories echo through the quiet fairways and streets of this little village. Who can forget Payne Stewart's putt that won the 1999 U.S. Open?
But, in a sense, the village of Pinehurst is more than that. It is one of the centers of the golf universe; a keeper of its history and its soul. The village was constructed a century ago when the resort was laid out and appears much as is did then. New England shingle style architecture is scattered along its tidy blocks. It is a relaxing place to shop and enjoy lunch at one of the restaurants. The majestic, genteel hotel The Carolina anchors the village and is the center of the action.
It is wonderful and my family has stayed there many times. The Holly Inn, Magnolia Inn and Manor Inn are also great. But none of these are trailer trad. However, the little-known Pine Crest Inn is also a vital part of the village's soul and is, quite definitely, trailer trad.

The Pine Crest Inn has quietly served its patrons in the shadow of its larger, more proper sister hotel The Carolina since it opened in 1913. The revered Father of Golf Course Design, Donald Ross, owned The Pinecrest (it's true) for many years but it has been owned since 1961 by the Barrett family. This stubborn family ownership has instilled a warm, familiar quality to the establishment. There seems to be little interest in injecting a 'luxury' or 'exclusive' experience when staying at the Pinecrest. Then what do you get when you get your room key (that's 'key' not card) at the creaky front desk?
Well, you get a very pleasant room in the exact center of the Village. And you get a great breakfast AND dinner for much, much less that you'd expect to pay. Granted, you'll not find the latest in fusion cuisine (whatever that is). On the other hand, some of the kitchen staff have been cooking there since golf was telecast in black and white nd it's good, old-fashioned southern cooking.

The Lounge, off to the right of the front desk, was not designed by Ralph Lauren. It doesn't look like an English library or golf museum. It's been renovated in recent years (or so they say) but an interior decorator would definitely be puzzled by the lack of cohesive 'vision.' -But, for a 'Nineteenth Hole', isn't that the best vision of all? The bar staff are old-school. Been there and done that and quick with a joke. The lounge gets very crowded and spills over into the lobby and out onto the veranda. Nightly. -Folks in this joint have been around a cocktail.

In case that's not enough, the lobby hosts a couple of attractions that set it apart. First, don't leave your chipping wedge in the bag. In front of the hearth in the lobby is a wooden target with a hole in the middle. Guys who have chipped into the hole read like a who's who of trad golf and, according to legend, Ben Crenshaw holds the record score.

The second selling point is the live music performing most nights in the lobby. But it's not just any live music. There's a guy who has been playing a portable electric piano there for years. Cheeztastic stuff like 'Ebony n Ivory' as well as danceable beach music classics. He's awesome.

It's no secret that over 80% of guests are repeat customers. -And the rest are probably word of mouth. This lends the place a slightly clubby atmosphere; like it's a frat house and you're pledging that weekend. But that's OK. It's a frat you'll want to join.