It’s a Wednesday, 9 P.M.

I’m drinking a tangerine flavored beer, at Person Street Bar, with the future Mr. and Mrs. Josh Gruder.

Meagan, the so mentioned future Mrs., (who is also my co-worker), is telling me about a man in New Orleans.

“He shot a rat between the eyes, and then fed it to a crocodile.”

Meagan is full of hilarious stories, and by far, one of the coolest chicks I’ve ever met. Her no-bullshit, laid-back approach instantly drew me to her (in addition to her Upstate New York roots).

I start chatting with Josh, (who I’m in the midst of interviewing for the blog). Josh talks to me about Driftyland, gives me some praise, but makes a suggestion.

“Why don’t you write more about what you do?”

I’m puzzled. I remind him that all I do is write about that.

“No, I mean – what do you actually do? Where do you go everyday?” he asks. He points out that I don’t write much about Raleigh.

He’s right. I’m a victim of my own boredom. Raleigh seems a bit mundane, vanilla at times. But I’ve found family here, and the more I scratch the surface, the more I find.

So I accepted Josh’s challenge.

Original Artwork by Melissa Randall


I’m overlooking downtown Raleigh, from the rooftop of my friend Pete’s apartment. I’m puffing on a cigar gifted to Tassy by our friend Nout’s husband, Wes. I pass it to her, smoke bellowing out of my mouth, and she hands me a glass of whiskey.

A few short hours before, I was sitting in Joule Coffee, sketchbook and colored pencils in hand. I get some feedback from my pink-haired waitress, and sip my scotch. I’m sketching out the last “K” in “Reykjavik”, when suddenly, the man next to me breaks into song.

“UGH -“, I text Tassy, as the man continues to sing off key, unaware of loud (or terrible) he is. “Why isn’t there anyone normal ever here?”

She urges me to meet her on said rooftop. As I walk out of Joule, carefully walking on the slick black and white tile, I realize that perhaps, the girl with blue hair shouldn’t be judging anyone.


I get to Durham early, and drop in at Whole Foods for breakfast. Strawberries for me, and a hot breakfast for D, a man I met outside in the parking lot who was cold and hungry. Also, yellow tulips for my co-worker Nout, who is coming back to the office from a medical absence.

Suddenly, it’s noon. It’s brilliantly sunny out, and West (graphic designer) and I go to lunch at Bull McCabes. I immediately request a Kolsch, and we start talking about design ideas for Cold Island.

I top off the evening at Raleigh Brewing Company with Rachel. I ask the bartender for something light, and he gives me a sample. I send it back, and ask for another. After catching up, I drive to Shana’s for our new weekly tradition – Monday night Bachelor mocking. Tassy, Shana and I sit, questioning why one of the women is wearing a headband to a pool party, and taking a swig of wine whenever someone says “amazing”.


Meagan and I decide to go to Parker and Otis for lunch. It’s by far, is one of my favorite places to go in Durham. It’s warm and gorgeous, so Meagan and I sit outside on the patio. We discuss her weekend (lots of skiing), and my obvious trip envy. Before leaving, I grab Grace some chocolate covered caramels. Because I love her.

After work, I head home to get some work done. Blog posts, doodles. Then I pop over to The Flying Saucer for Dirty Trivia with Shana, Tassy and our friend Katie. We find out that kangaroos have hooked weiners and get flashed by 1999 Shannon Elizabeth.

-Wednesday –

With the exception of a quick trip to Daisy Cakes, I don’t leave the office. Tassy and I are having a shit day, so the majority of our coffee trip is bitching.

I work late, and have to miss my small group. When I’m finally done, I pop into Joule for awhile after work, draft up a blog post. Meagan texts me, and I head to Person Street Bar to meet her – which I mentioned in the beginning of this post. Josh joins us later.

We talk about their adventures in New Orleans (they went to college there), and I tell them a shortened version of my Iceland trip – correctly pronouncing all of the city names as I go.


I’m early, so I spend about 20 minutes drawing a crocodile for Meagan. It’s orange. I stick it to her magnetic divider, with a note thanking her for the night before.

I take an early lunch, and whip up a fresh caprese salad. I stuff my face with fresh mozzerella as I finish up the blog post from the night before.

After work, I’m devastated to find that Joule is closed for a private event. I pop into Raleigh Times, order a burger, and crack open a book. I’m unexpectedly joined by Grace, and one of her friends. We sit, drink red wine, and I get into a heated conversation with the bartender about Argentina.

On the way out, I declare to Grace (and the rest of Hargett St.) that Blair Waldorf is legendary. We fist pump to headbands.


I opt to skip going out, and head to Cafe de los Muertos. By far, one of my favorite coffee shops during the week, but on Fridays, it’s dead. I’m planning on taking up one of their upstairs table to sketch, but find their second floor roped off.


Making the most of it, I get a glass of their driest red, and finish my article about Tom. Two glasses, and one published article later, I’m headed home for a quiet night in.

Girl’s gotta sleep.


A boozy lunch at The Flying Saucer knocks three beers off their 200 beer challenge. I take an epic nap, and head to Tassy’s. We drink a beer or two from a collection from Beer Durham, and then grab an Uber downtown. We demand to know if the Uber driver likes Lil Wayne. He seems conflicted.

Raleigh Times again. A seemingly intentional, direct guy besides me says he likes my bangs. He says he hates hipsters, and when I tell him I’m from Philly, he says it’s gross. I want to tell him his fiery ginger beard is gross. I don’t.

Tassy and I head to Landmark. We meet an enchanting fellow with a heavy accent, and I tell him over and over how adorable he is. Two friendly guys invite us to Neptune’s, and we politely turn them down, so we can go home and snuggle.


I wake up at Tassy’s, and we decide we absolutely need brunch. Grace recommends Big Ed’s in City Market.

Big Ed’s is very country – like a Mom and Pop Cracker Barrel. I get a basic scrambled eggs, home fries, and biscuits, while Tassy gets a egg white omelette with a million things in it. We talk, laugh, and wildly gesture, while double fisting black coffee and cold caffeinated drinks.

We discuss the idea of going to Europe this summer – starting out in Reykjavik, stopping by to see my family in Paris, and seeing some of her friends in Germany. We wonder if the church group outside thinks we’re a couple.

I never get my biscuits.

We go to Pete’s, and visit Shana, who’s dog-sitting. We get his apartment ready for his return (don’t ever let us pet sit for you), and leave before he finds all of the pranks we left.

Now it’s Sunday night, and I’m back at Joule, working.

The pink-haired waitress recognizes me.

“Hey, it’s you!” she exclaims. She asks how my illustrations are going, and we briefly discuss the troubles of having Crayola colored hair.

I realize that for the first time, I went somewhere frequently enough to be recognized…. and don’t hate it.

Feels like home.