Riding shotgun with Speed Stick driver Cole Whitt and Playboy’s April Rose at Talladega

paul-eide-april-rose-cole-whitt-talladega

Confidence opens doors that nothing else can. But confidence can also be misplaced. How do you know if the shirt you’re wearing is completely ridiculous until you actually wear it outside the house? Thanks to Speed Stick, at least I had confidence in my underarm scent.

But confidence was definitely not lacking for driver Cole Whitt. Even though Front Row Motorsports is at a distinct disadvantage, operating on one-eighth the budget of its competitors and Whitt’s highest previous finishing position this season a modest 22nd, Whitt was ready.

A Top 20 finish at Talladega would’ve meant a lot, as Cole explains in our interview below, shot immediately before the race. But Whitt was able to #DefyTheDoubt and lead the entire field with under 40 laps remaining en route to his best performance this season. Speed Stick is all about giving you confidence for the moment you shut down the naysayers, as Whitt did finishing a career-best 13th in the race.

I got a little excited during my interview, and it isn’t completely my fault – there’s so much energy at a NASCAR race, it permeates the grounds and is as real as the guy with the Dale Jr. shirt on next to you.

There is no other major sport that allows fans’ access the way NASCAR does. No one is too big or too important. The mix of American pride and Bible Belt-bred Christianity adds two additional layers that don’t exist north of the Mason-Dixon.

That ethos permeates the grounds and is exemplified in a myriad of ways, from the ease in dealing with on-site officials, to the random mix of cool people you meet while watching the race, to the drivers themselves.

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2015 Mother’s Day Gift Guide

There’s nothing a mother appreciates more than then you put some thought into their gift. You can never go wrong with classics like flowers or chocolates, but something more personal is usually better. Whether you’re buying for your mom, your wife or another important woman in your life, think about their interests and what would best bring a smile to their face.

Some moms also love gadgets that make their lives easier, so keep that in mind as well. Here are just a few suggestions to get you started.

Vivitar LifeCam

lifecam

For mothers with an active or busy lifestyle, the new Vivitar LifeCam ensures they’ll never miss another important moment again. It’s a wearable camcorder that boasts 1920x1080p HD video quality, a fixed lens with a 160-degree field of view, and the ability to capture photos and record live or time-lapsed video. The device is about 3 inches long, so it’s small enough to carry around without worrying about losing it, and comes with seven different accessory mounts for hands-free recording. There’s a head mount and bike mount for adventure-seekers who partake in outdoor activities like mountain climbing, snowboarding and cycling; a tripod mount for getting more professional shots; a clip mount for wearing it on the go; and suction, magnet and desktop mounts for a variety of everyday uses. In addition to a MicroSD card slot for saving your photos and videos, the LifeCam includes an HDMI port for HDTV playback and connects via a built-in iOS and Android app to sync, view and share your media on any mobile device.

Soundfreaq Sound Rise Speaker

We loved this compact, minimalistic wireless bedroom speaker so much that after testing it, we promptly unplugged our current iHome unit and replaced it with the Soundfreaq Sound Rise. Featuring Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity and a USB power port in the back for charging, this cube-shaped speaker also operates as a dual alarm clock with weekday/weekend settings, as well as an FM radio with the option for six presets. That means you can wake up to whatever your connected device may be streaming (like iTunes music or Pandora), your favorite FM radio station or the built-in chime sound. Though the audio quality won’t blow you away, it’s more than adequate for everyday use, while the simple design fits nicely with just about any décor. The Sound Rise is available in black and wood tone, but there’s also a limited edition floral print appropriately called Flower Freaq that most women will absolutely love.

soundfreaq

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Saturday offers so many options for sports fanatics

Flickr 14130332164_84228075d2_z By Bill Brine
Image courtesy of Bill Brine via Flickr

May is here, finally, and the sports calendar is starting to really get packed with plenty of options for the die-hard sports fan. But for you couch potatoes out there, today offers so many options you could spend the whole day lounging around with your beer and Fritos as you enjoy some of your favorite sports and sporting events. We have THE classic horse race, day 3 of the NFL draft, a potentially epic game 7 in the NBA playoffs and the rare occurrence of a boxing fight that everyone is talking about.

Horse racing may be dying a slow death, but the Kentucky Derby always gets everyone excited again, even if it’s just for a few minutes. If you ever get the opportunity to go the Churchill Downs, make sure you take advantage of it. You love the race and all the southern belles all deck out in their sundresses and pretty hats. But naturally you can enjoy this on your couch as well. You can even mix yourself a special drink like The Grandstand Julip featured this week by Bob Westal.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves, as the race doesn’t go off until 6:24 PM EST and most of us won’t be wasting our time with the hours of pre-race hype.

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Looking for an Interesting Way to Stay in Shape? Try Bubble Soccer

Many people play sports as a way to stay in shape. It is a good idea; you get to exercise your body in a way that feels like fun, not work. There are the traditional sports like basketball, baseball, football, and soccer, but what if you’re just not attracted to “regular” sports? Well, then maybe you are interested in something new, exciting, and a heck of a lot of fun; bubble soccer.

What is Bubble Soccer?

If you want a good chuckle, watch just a few seconds of a bubbleball soccer game, and then you will want to find out where you can join a local team. Comedians and TV hosts Henrik Elvestad and Johan Golden started bubble soccer as a joke in Norway in 2011, since then it has evolved into so much more. It is brutal full contact sport that just might be the safest to play. After all, you are all wrapped up in a protective bubble. It provides quite a workout as well with the bubble itself weighing in at about twenty pounds. Add in the extra effort of running while inside the bubble and inevitably having to climb back onto your feet after a collision, and there is plenty of exercise in this game.

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Drink of the Week: The Grandstand Julep

the Grandstand Julep.The first week in May is always a dilemma in the making here at Drink of the Week Plaza as it actually pits two of the year’s biggest drinking excuses holidays against each other. Since tomorrow is Derby Day and Cinco de Mayo is in the middle of next week, I’m going to start with that and follow it up with a belated Mexican-themed cocktail for next week. Not ideal, I know. It is, of course, entirely coincidental that mysterious forces bribed gifted me with a free bottle of Wild Turkey 101 Straight Bourbon and this week’s intriguing, imaginative variation on a traditional Mint Julep.

Though I still have a spot soft for good Old Fitzgerald when you can find it, I have to admit that this expression of one of the best known names in American whiskey is about as good a high-proof bourbon as you’re likely to get for under $20.00 for a fifth. It offers a very nice balance of sweet and tough flavors that have made for plenty of good reviews and a number of good cocktails.

Which brings us to this week’s variation on the ultimate Derby Day classic. It pairs the bourbon with, of all things, an artichoke-derived amaro-style liqueur beloved of the cocktail cognoscenti. Can these two crazy ingredients have a shot at a long and happy life together? Let’s find out.

The Grandstand Julep

1 1/2 ounces Cynar
3/4 ounce Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
12 mint leaves
2 ounces soda water
2 dashes Fee Brother’s Grapefruit Bitters

Build this one in a julep cup if you’ve got one and a good size rocks glass if you don’t. (I don’t!) Combine the Cynar, Wild Turkey, juice, mint leaves (given the differing sizes of mint leaves, the number is an approximation at best), and simple syrup…you can also substitute two and half teaspoons of superfine sugar if that’s easier. Gently muddle the leaves in the liquid.

Next, add crushed ice, follow with the soda water and then top the whole thing off with the grapefruit bitters. Start to sip slowly and toast our equine friends. Alternatively, you can toast W.C. Fields, who is supposed to have said that horse sense is what keeps horses from betting on people.

*****

While you could theoretically try this drink with another bourbon (it better be a strong one), there isn’t much room for messing around with the main ingredients here. Mainly that’s because there’s only one one type of Cynar available and it’s made by the manufacturers of Campari.

The exception is actually your ice, which really does need to be crushed. I’m lazy and tried this drink several times with ordinary ice and found it tasty and relatively well balanced but bordering on cloying. Crushing the ice, while admittedly a bit of a hassle, opened the drink up and took the edge off the very sweet/very bitter flavors. My only other advice is not to drink this one too fast. You want to let that crushed ice melt a bit. Take your time with this one and leave the racing to the horsies.

  

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