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  • “BP & CrossFit" - article for This! Magazine

    “BP & CrossFit”

    (This! - November/December issue)

    The health benefits of pizza: the crust provides insulation for the cold winter months; tomato sauce contains lycopene, your prostate's best friend; cheese aka dairy makes for good, strong bones. Bonus points if your pie contains pepperoni, thus meeting your protein requirement. Because of this form of thinking, it's imperative I spend a decent amount of time in the gym.

    Like most people, I would go workout only to find myself in a rut and not accomplishing my ultimate goal. The ultimate goal being looking good naked; call me J-Lo because I'm real. Who really wants to develop and increase their strength, only to utilize it on moving day for a friend? Not me. That's why God created credit cards and professional movers. To achieve my ultimate goal, I decided to join Roanoke's first CrossFit gym, Brickhouse.

    Jay and Amanda Forrester, co-owners of Brickhouse, describe CrossFit training as “functional movements that are constantly varied at high intensity” or in layman's terms, “You gon' sweat.” Coming into CrossFit as a beginner can feel very intimidating, which is mainly provoked by misconceptions. Most people think you already have to be fit to do CrossFit or, for females, that you'll get bulkier. Amanda stated, “just come in; that mentality will only put you behind”. Jay proudly boasted, “the Brickhouse team is good at getting the average person fit”. That's where Amanda steps in and gets the ball rolling with a private foundations course that allows newcomers to get comfortable with the barbell. It's important to note that all workouts can be modified based on skill level. And believe me, I modify the crap out of them!

    Once you've become immersed in the CrossFit world, you'll start to hear the term cult. Paraphrasing Greg Glassman, CrossFit CEO, Amanda said, “cult has such a negative connotation, but if when you hear cult you mean community & passionate, then yeah!” Being on the inside, I can honestly say I've never seen any strange pagan rituals. Then again, I only attend class twice a week, an hour at a time. Come to think of it, I do see all the CrossFit folk drinking the same beverage called “FitAid.” I may need to do a follow-up piece, but I digress.

    I suppose you're now wondering, “how's Blair at CrossFit?” It might seem, to borrow a word from Trump, braggadocious to discuss my CrossFit abilities. As any humble man would do, I asked my coach Zach Bennett to tell me how great I am, for literary purposes of course. Zach blankly stared at me, clearly blown away by this honor and said, “you're very positive”. Man of few words, I like it.

    Get a jump on the food-filled holidays. Whether you share my same ultimate goal or if you prefer the health and fitness aspect, definitely check out my buddies at Brickhouse CrossFit, by visiting BrickhouseCrossFit.com

    PS – My goal is to contort my face, while working out, with the same intensity as my coach.

  • "BP & His Musical Passion" - my This! magazine article

    “BP & His Musical Passion”

    (This! March/April issue)

    Wanna read a secret? I’m assuming your lack of response is a heartfelt “yes”. I, Blair Peyton, would like to be a singer. And quite honestly, I think I can attain this dream. If my steering wheel could voice an opinion, I’m sure it’d be overwhelmingly positive. The first question I usually get from people after sharing said desire is, “have you had any vocal training”. Guffaw! I don’t need training…

    NOTE: I do not understand the meaning of the word secret, for I can’t keep anything to myself.

    When one frequents karaoke bars as much as I do, the audience feedback is pretty evident. Compliments like “wow” or “that was different” speak volumes. I’ve been blessed with a voice that could rival the likes of Lou Bega or Bruce Willis. I’m ready for the next level.

    I did a Google search for nearby concert venues and the first result was the Harvester Performance Center. According to the Harvester’s website, the main room seats up to 475 people and in smaller configurations when deemed appropriate. With a stand-up show configuration, the main room can hold up to 700 people.  The lower level, known as The Landing Pad, has another music room with seating for up to 200 or standing space for 350 people, depending on the style of show.

    Upon further investigation, I learned that this Rocky Mount site has hosted many big name acts from various genres. To say that I performed on a stage that was once occupied by artists like the Indigo Girls, Phil Vassar and Three Dog Night would make this man weep like a tiny girl.

    I chatted with Matt Hankins, the Harvester’s Chief Executive. My first question was obvious, “what does that mean?” and by that, I meant his title. He chuckled and said, “I basically oversee the business”. Not to editorialize, but I think it’d be more professional to go by “The Oversee-er”. Before I brazenly asked to perform at this new-ish location, I thought it best to engage him in talk about the Harvester.

    When asked about the venue’s name, he revealed that it’s derived from the building’s history as a dealership in the 1940’s for International Harvester tractor trailers. To which I recanted the time I drunkenly fell off a tractor trailer at my grandma’s 92nd birthday. I could tell he was in awe of me, for he fell silent for 2 minutes and 47 seconds. Then he uttered, “wow, that was different”.

    Matt began eagerly discussing the Harvester’s main passion, which is to be a musical destination and cultural center for Virginia. Not only have they had regional audience members but folks from 31 states and 8 foreign countries, including Costa Rica and the United Kingdom. The enthusiasm in his voice was so infectious that I knew that this was the time to ask for a spot in the Harvester’s line-up.

    With the fervor of a Tyler Perry character, I proclaimed, “I’m a singer and I wanna perform at the Harvester”. Matt graciously received this information and went on to tell of the several local and regional acts that have taken the Harvester stage. I knew I had a spot. My confidence increasingly grew as he gave me a definitive, “we’ll be in touch”.

    While I anxiously await his call, I’ll definitely be checking out the competition. Browse their upcoming schedule: www.harvester-music.com

  • "BP & Mike Wilson" #ThisRoanoke

    “BP & Mike Wilson”

    (This! January/February issue)

    When it comes to dating, my success rate is pretty bleak. My Saturday nights usually consist of a mildly entertaining movie on Netflix, the cheapest wine that's not in a box and raw cookie dough. As much as I enjoy the inevitable stomach ache that follows, I'd much rather share my poor choices with, well, someone special. What am I doing wrong? I have a stellar personality and I am the spitting image of Brad Pitt... in the dark. Then it dawned on me: my pics on the dating app Tinder are terribly bland. As I glanced through them, my eyes became very heavy and profuse yawning occurred. So I put down the cookie dough and took matters into my own hands.

    I Facebook stalked Mike Wilson of Bohemian Robot Photography and pleaded for his assistance. He must have been privy to my lame photos because he eagerly agreed. But before I dove head first, I thought I should be a responsible consumer and do my research.

    Before Mike made photography his full-time passion, he spent an extensive amount of time in front of the camera. He lived in the Big Apple for a number of years as a print model; most notably in Southern Living magazine for the Tennessee Board of Tourism. From there he went on to be a producer at MSNBC, after which landing several hosting jobs in Texas & Virginia. After his most recent turn as co-host of Daytime Blue Ridge on WSLS ended, Mike made his love of photography his main priority. Though several TV offers arose out of state, his love of Roanoke made him push aside his quote “ego for being on-camera” and pick up his trusty Canon.

    Feeling I was in safe heads, Mike and I began discussing the popular pictorial trends on Tinder. He suggested an “online dating mullet”, meaning have a professional headshot followed by fun, candid photos. One example of a candid photo might be of me standing in front of a Ford F-150, in casual camo, holding a freshly-caught fish… or some variation. Sidebar, why is this a “go-to” look on Tinder? Mike feels it makes a statement and that statement is “you shall never go hungry”. But my thought is if fish is the only thing on the menu, then we have a real problem!

    Another growing epidemic in our culture is the use of a certain unnamed app that allows you to blur away imperfections on your face, thus making people look like a blur-ball with eyes. When I asked Mike to weigh in on this, he profoundly uttered “false advertising often results in a high rate of returns”. Chills, am I right? Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Photoshop especially after wine & cookie dough night (see paragraph 1). However, Mike prefers to limit his Photoshop to mainly correcting minor flaws or color-correcting. Agree to disagree. I much rather prefer to have my Photoshop take me from Zach Galifianakis to Zac Efron.

    Once I stepped in front of the lens, I swelled with confidence mainly because I knew I had chosen wisely. Not to editorialize but Mike is a true professional. He really does know what he’s doing… and I’m not saying that because he’s pressing a revolver into the upper half of my back. The proof is in the pudding… and I got myself a date! He’s blind though, but that’s neither here nor there.

    Check out Mike’s vast portfolio at www.BohemianRobot.com

  • In the kitchen with Chef Blair...

    I'm always trying to eat healthy... That is until my stomach starts behaving like a 4-year-old nagging for an Oreo Mint milkshake from Cook-Out. Usually while I'm inhaling any carbs that aren't nailed down, I visually stimulate myself by perusing through Pinterest. There I discovered a super delicious recipe for "flour-less pancakes". I documented my efforts:

    Against my brightly colored countertop, you'll note I've place 2 eggs & 1 chopped banana in a bowl:

    Then I mashed the shit out of them by using that potato-masher thing. NOTE: Feel free to use any method of mixing you deem more effective. (Looks like nacho cheese dip in this pic):

    Then I poured the goop into the skillet on medium heat till brown'd on each side:

    Repeat this process depending on yo' skillet size and BOOM!

    It's sooo good that my hair got a woody!