by William Needham Finley IV™

Author

William Needham Finley IV @WNFIV

William Needham Finley IV @WNFIV has 147 articles published.

ITBonappetit: Inside the Best Beer Dinner In History

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Welcome to ITBonappetit, our series that goes inside the best culinary experiences across the globe. Past editions include the 3rd annual Tasty Beverage New Belgium and Bojangles’ beer dinner, as well as Instagram posts of French Toast that many have called “breathtaking.”

5 beltline chef and New Belgium Ranger Chris Allen and Tasty Beverage’s Johnny Belflower did it again. For the fourth consecutive year, the team put on a beer dinner unlike any other. Guests left amazed and inspired. Lives were changed. Records were broken. Here is the exclusive story and interview.

The Tasty Beverage New Belgium and Bojangles’ beer dinner was held on Monday night in a boutique vehicle storage parcel that was once home to a railway depot. The similarities between the culinary innovators behind the dinner and the railway titans who connected America using that same depot was lost on no one. A subtle nod to North Carolina’s rich tradition of tailgating, the location allowed guests to dine in an inspiring open world setting atop historic cobblestones laid by Sir Walter Raleigh himself.

Photo: Kyle Foreman

Allen and Belflower used sophisticated mouth science to come up with a series of never-before-seen Bojangles’ based courses paired with New Belgium’s finest offerings.

The sold-out crowd of 100 guests enjoyed the following:

Welcome Bite – A Trip to the Gravy Fountain with Fat Tire Amber Ale

First Course – Bojangles’ Poutine with Dayblazer Easy Going Ale

Second Course – Texas Pete Tossed Wings with Ranch with Fat Tire Belgian White

Third Course – The Supreme Supreme – with Citradelic Tangerine IPA

Fourth Course – Bojangles’ Cuban with Voodoo Ranger Juicy Haze IPA

Dessert – Bo-Berry Bread Pudding topped with Legendary Ice Tea Glaze with Wood Cellar Reserve Felix aged in Apple Whiskey Barrels

They even invented a Cheerwine based Sweet & Sour Sauce that left Gordon Ramsay speechless.

Guests left with an incredible gift box filled with an assortment of New Belgium beers, Bojangles’ accoutrements, and more. Stay tuned next week as we auction off one of these boxes AND two tickets to next year’s dinner for Hurricane Florence relief, once we ask Stacy Miller if we can legally auction off alcohol.

As you can see, this was the most innovative dining experience held in the history of Raleigh. Not only did we attend the event, but we got an exclusive interview with the creators.

ITBonappetit: The decision to depart from the archaic culinary tradition of dining indoors was a daring one that ultimately paid off. Was this a statement on the institution of dinner itself or was there another goal in mind?

Allen: A little of both. It’s 2016*, who wants to eat inside of four walls? Beyond that, we are right in the heart of Bo’gate season and everybody knows that you can’t do that inside. We also knew that Bonner would engage the Weather Dome if there was a threat of weather. So there was very little concern for this not being a perfect evening.

Note: 2016 is not a typo. Allen stopped recognizing the passage of time in 2016, “I live in the past and I’m pretty sure I peaked in 2016 with that trip to watch the Panthers play in the Super Bowl.”

ITBonappetit: Praise be to Bonner.

Allen: And also with you.

ITBonappetit: So what went into this dinner?

Allen: As you mentioned, we served 100 guests, which most likely makes this the largest beer dinner in the history of Raleigh, and perhaps North Carolina. To put up those kinds of numbers you’re going to need what equates to a boatload of fried chicken, around 120 Bo-Berry Biscuits, exactly 26 pounds of sugar for the dessert and Cheerwine Sweet & Sour sauce. I thought I would never see what 6 gallons of Sausage Gravy looked like, but that goal was knocked off the list by 6:00 pm. And of course we can’t forget the blood, sweat, and tears.

ITBonappetit: Talk about the Cheerwine Sweet & Sour sauce that you invented. How did that come about?

Allen: As I mentioned at the dinner, the Supreme is already the perfect serving of chicken. So what can we do to showcase that greatness? We tossed around a few ideas and one centered around Cheerwine. Considering that Cheerwine is up there with Julius Peppers, Bojangles’, and manned flight, as the great products to ever come from North Carolina, the choice was simple. It’s also been scientifically proven that the legendary Sweet & Sour Chicken from Red Dragon is the ultimate cure for the Sunday Scaries. From there it was just getting the flavor of the sauce dialed in and the chicken crispy enough to handle the viscosity of the sauce. The rest is history.

ITBonappetit: You’ve captured the hearts and minds of a nation. How does that feel?

Allen: I like to think it’s how Cam Newton feels right after he runs over a Falcons linebacker for a touchdown, drops a Superman, and then gives the football to a child in the stands. Or when Taylor Swift sells out 53 consecutive stadium shows on the same tour and knows she could do another 53 without breaking a sweat.

ITBonappetit: This year saw actual support from Bojangles’ representatives. While you were confident that the great Stacy Miller would be able to handle any potential legal issues, I’m sure it was nice to have their support for the first time.

Allen: One thing is for sure, we couldn’t have done this without our friends from TriArc. They own and operate all of the local Bojangles’ and were great to work with. I also have to give a shout out to first ballot Bojangles’ Hall of Famers – Melissa Chestnutt, Jim Ainsworth, and Tommy Haddock. There was no way that we could have done this without them and we are forever in debt to them.

ITBonappetit: Like a fine Cheerwine, this event has gotten better each year. What’s next?

Allen: That’s the million Chicken Supreme question. Over the last four years, we have had a lot of fun and have always tried to push the envelope. We have to up the stakes from the previous years, because that’s what’s expected from us. Maybe we go tropical, like sand from wall to wall. I know a great sand guy. But for now we are going to take a mental break and regroup after the Panthers beat the Chiefs 35-18 in Super Bowl 53.

Chef Allen shared the following message on Twitter:
I don’t know where to begin. Last night’s Bojangles’ Beer Dinner was so f’n awesome. It’s crazy to think that it started out with 20 people, a hot plate, and a microwave. Last night we had over 100 people and by all accounts a great time. The pics and love that y’all shared with Tasty Beverage and myself have been incredible. This is a labor of love for us and last night was truly gratifying for us all. Thank you! I have to give a huge shout out to my @roaringriot family. I mean, y’all started a #KeepPounding chant in between courses. So thanks for coming out and supporting us. We couldn’t do what we do without you guys. If I didn’t get to thank you in person last night, I’m sorry. I tried to get around the best I could, but there were 100 of you! It was all very overwhelming, as were the social media response.

Remember, it’s always #BoTime in your heart.
Hugs,
C

PS: #KeepPounding – at Tasty Beverage Co

La Croix Wine and Design Class Sells Out In Seconds

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La Croix themed Wine & Design classes sold out within seconds of being announced this week. As the name implies, participants in the class pay $35 to paint a picture of a can of La Croix, the popular sparkling flavored water that everyone is cripplingly addicted to.

The first step is admitting you have a problem. @lacroixwater

A photo posted by William Needham Finley IV (@wnfiv) on

Before offering the class to the public, Wine & Design held a test run to work out any kinks. They invited some of their most loyal customers to explore their inner Monet while painting pictures identical to everyone else in the class.


The first issue arose when guests were tasked with choosing which flavor of La Croix to paint, which caused quite a rift.

“The rehearsal gave us some important customer feedback. We should’ve known that people would want to paint Pamplemousse instead of the other flavors. When Mary Helen threatened to “cut someone” in support of Coconut we decided to add classes for smaller groups of sociopaths who enjoy Coconut. We just want everyone to look happy when they’re all holding identical paintings and posing for the group picture,” said a Wine & Design representative.

In addition to offering more flavor options, Wine & Design will cater the class with wine and special La Croix cocktails. For an additional $200, guests can order a La Croix cake and cupcakes from Hayes Barton Cafe, inspired by the cake recently offered by a Whole Foods in hipster Williamsburg.

La Croix cake 2Photo by Scott Heins/Gothamist


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A secondary market has already emerged for tickets to the classes. Some are being sold for up to $500 on private Facebook groups such as micITBit.

“I bought 50 tickets as soon as my mom told me she went to the rehearsal class. I knew people would eat this up. It’s like the next Holiday Express. It’s perfect for a Deb luncheon, a girls night out, bachelorette parties, and gossip club.” said an unnamed futures trader.

Additional classes were added through the year 2020, but they sold out within 10 minutes.

Is La Croix Bad For Your Teeth? ITBlake Investigates

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Figure 8 Watch: Live From Figure 8

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Hurricane Florence is making its way towards North Carolina. We’ve obtained exclusive access to this livestream of Figure 8. This is coverage you can ITBelieve in.

We’ve also obtained a live look at the Weather Dome™️®️🔥©️

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Live look at the Weather Dome™️®️©️

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Stay tuned for more coverage.

Hurricane Preparedness Guide:

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Prepared. #florence

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How To Prepare For Hurricane Florence Without Leaving Your House

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Update:

We’d like to highlight some ways that you can contribute to the Hurricane Florence recovery. Raleigh was spared from a horrible storm, thanks to Bonner’s masterful control of the Raleigh Weather Dome™®. As you’ve seen in the news, many other areas were devastated.

There have been tons of great efforts already, from local businesses to individuals who are willing to drop what they’re doing and take supplies to areas that need it the most. This list of organizations below is by no means comprehensive. City Council Representative Nicole Stewart has done a great job on Twitter (@Nicole4Raleigh) of keeping the public informed of ways to help. Here are a few:

North Carolina Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund

NC Hospital Foundation Disaster Relief Fund

Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC – donations will be collected Thursday from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Carter-Finley Stadium (inside Gate A) and at the food bank distribution facility at 1924 Capital Blvd.

Habitat for Humanity

United Way

Volunteer for a 6 or 12 hour shift with the Red Cross

The Carolina Cavalry

Here are a few tips on donating:

Why cash is better than donations

How to avoid charity scams. Do your homework first by checking out a charity.

  • Visit www.give.org to see if national charities meet the standards set by the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, and www.charitywatch.org for ratings of charities by the American Institute of Philanthropy.  Other good sources of information are www.guidestar.org and www.charitynavigator.org .
  • Find out whether or not charities are licensed.  Many charities that solicit in our state are required by law to register with the N.C. Secretary of State. You can call that office toll free at (888) 830‑4989 or check out a charity or fundraiser on its website.

Breaking news: Hurricane Florence is heading towards North Carolina right now. On Sunday, our Senior Meteorologist, Jai Kumar, shared these stunning sea surface temperatures. We don’t know what that means, but we do know we’re going to need a bigger Harris Teeter.

After spending hours checking the spaghetti, angel hair pasta, and tortellini plots we still have no idea what’s going to happen. We took a trip to the Cameron Village Harris Teeter to check on the storm prep. It was madness.

Attention: You cannot get out of your car at the CV HT right now. You literally. can. not. even. Here’s some Amazon links to help you prepare for Florence without leaving your house.


This best-selling hand crank self powered radio LED flashlight and power bank for your phone is perfect. Keep your kids occupied by making them crank this all-in-one device until their arms fall off.


Florence should bring a lot of rain, according to experts. Use these Ziploc 60 quart storage boxes to keep anything dry. From your children to your Jack Rogers, these containers will fit just about anything.


Here’s some light reading for when your Kindle, iPad, kid’s iPad, and spouse’s work iPad dies. These are called “books” and were used in the days of yore to tell stories and convey ideas.


Popped a molly now I’m hurricane preppin’. No, these aren’t for your next rave. These industrial grade ultra bright light sticks will keep your house lit AF until the power comes back on.


This is an ITBasic home staple. Pumpkin Spice – check. Mason jar – check. Candle – check. You should have one of these even if there isn’t a massive hurricane on the way.


Once your kids have figured out how to break open those industrial grade glow sticks you’re going to need an actual source of light. These lanterns are perfect for power outages and pretending you’ll actually use them on that camping trip you’re never going to take.


This 5-gallon water bottle is ITBPA free and perfect for storing water. At this point, Raleigh is probably sold out of bottled water, so you should buy at least a dozen of these.


If for some reason you’re stuck outside when the storm hits, you’re going to need this windproof umbrella, ella, ella, eh, eh, eh, eh, eh? (RIP Felsons Dance Floor).


You know you need these, but I’m not even sure how they’re going to help, since all your devices are Apple products.


Apparently, this is the only bottled water you can get by tomorrow from Amazon. Oddly enough, this is the same brand that they gave out at Fyre Festival. I’m not even joking.

For some more information that may be more helpful:

Ready.gov – Make A Plan


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The Debut of ITB Living

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Welcome to the debut issue of ITB Living, the world’s first digital magazine cover publication. This cutting edge media property addresses the rapidly growing market of people who don’t have time to read magazines. Not to mention the fact that magazines are incredibly bad for the environment. Think about all those pages and ink piling up in a landfill after not being read in an office waiting room. Magazines are basically the new plastic straws (sorry, sea turtles).

We’re ecstatic to be the first entrant in this market that we invented. We’ll have monthly issues, special editions, pop-up issues, and more. Each carefully curated issue will be posted to the @ITBInsider Instagram account and will be paired with a blog post on ITBInsider.com. We’re in discussions to launch a podcast as well.



There is no better time to debut ITB Living than the weekend of the Deb Ball. Just like our beloved debutantes, this first edition was conceived by a group of former debs and escorts.

Without further ado, we proudly present the Deb Ball ’18 edition of ITB Living:

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Welcome to the debut issue of ITB Living, the world's first digital magazine cover publication. Our inaugural cover has everything you need to prepare for another glorious Deb Ball weekend. Including: The Science Behind Why Raleigh Has The Most Debs Every Year • How This Is SO Like An Episode Of The Crown • Hot (But Still Classy) Dresses Under $25,000 • What Your Deb Stool Monogram Font Says About You • Quiz: Will Your Escort Be Your First Husband? Spoiler: Nope • Tips On Surviving A Pellet Gun Wound The Night Before The Deb Ball • Best Mini Bottle Hiding Spots At CCC • Eggshell, Cream, Ivory: Picking The White Gloves • Playlists For The Tweener • Which Dress To Wear If Your Body Type Is Pear, Hourglass, Or Pizza (this headline was written by a former deb, so no, we aren't pizza shaming) • How To Not Throw Up At The Morning Dance • Full story on ITBinsider.com

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Our inaugural cover has everything you need to have an ITBlessed Deb Ball weekend. Be sure to tag @ITBInsider in your pics, now that you’re allowed to post about it.



High-Resolution Cover:



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Back To School Essentials Remain Unchanged For 8th Straight Decade

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Welcome to the definitive guide to starting another school year with your best boat shoe forward. The last thing you need as a parent is for little Davis III or Mary Anna to come home crying after the first day of school because they wore the wrong article of clothing or had a store brand snack in their lunch.

That’s why we’ve created this handy back to school guide that will ensure your children get off to a great start. From North Face to New Balances, these are the ITBasic items that will meet the approval of your peers.


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We’ve taken the time to link all of these products from Amazon so you can shop at home while binge watching Season 2 of Ozark and sipping on our back to school rosé from Seaboard Wine at High Park Village. Click on the product image or the title to purchase these items on Amazon and support the ITB Insider™ media empire, at no extra cost. You’re welcome.

Sperry Top-Siders

Your child may have to attend Cotillion, board a yacht, or go to the beach at a moment’s notice. Always be prepared.

Kid Sperrys

Same as above. Start teaching your children the importance of wearing proper shoes as they navigate the waters of the Pullen Park boats. But not the paddle boats, those require too much work.

Brooks Brothers Polo

A quintessential part of the ITB wardrobe, the Brooks Brothers polo should be worn every day of the week. When not wearing a Brooks Brothers polo, make sure your child is wearing a t-shirt from an acceptable restaurant, such as Sanitary, Beaufort Grocery, Angus Barn, etc.


New Balance 990s


The only shoe you’ll ever need. Your kid is probably begging for some new Under Armour shoe. Remind them that New Balances will never go out of style and will never blow a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals.



North Face Backpack

A classic for kids of all ages. Name brand? Check. Solid color that goes with anything? Check. Also, the Borealis is unisex so your child can’t be made fun of for having a backpack designed for the opposite sex.

Anything Lilly Pulitzer

On Wednesdays, the kids wear pink.


Matching Outfits

If you aren’t matching with your child on at least the first day of school then you’re doing it wrong.


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Dressing for success is critical for your child’s development, but you can’t stop there. The following items will help your child get through the rest of their school day without getting stuffed into a locker or shunned by the Alpha in their class.

Scout Lunch Bag

The days of bringing your lunch to school in a brown paper bag are over. If your child doesn’t show up to lunch with one of these they might as well eat alone in their locker to avoid the shame you’ve brought upon them.


Lunch Container

You bought the designer lunch bag, but you aren’t going to put your child’s food in a ziplock bag are you? Those things are FULL of BPA, PVC, and phthalates. Save your child’s life by using these lunch containers. The separated compartments are perfect for kids who are predisposed to melting down when their foods touch.

Pirate’s Booty

Pirate’s Booty has rocketed to the top of the snack food charts. Some might say this snack is on the expensive side, but the alternative is sending your kid to school with a bag of Utz cheese balls. Do you really want to be the talk of a thousand group texts before the last SUV has left the after school pick-up line?



Cheddar Bunnies

Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies are basically Goldfish crackers, and you probably can’t go wrong with either. However, Annie’s just seems more ITB because of how much they shove that organic label in your face.

Yeti Tumbler

You can’t send your child to school with a bottle of Deer Park and call it a day anymore. Their drink needs to have ice and that ice needs to stay frozen solid until you pick them up. Fortunately, YETI is the only tumbler with this type of ice preservation technology.

Lilly Planner

We all know you’re going to be the one planning your kid’s schedule, so you might as well look good doing it.

Trapper Keeper

The perfect receptacle for your child’s schoolwork, which you will ultimately be responsible for.

While this guide is far from complete, it should be enough to get you started. Good luck to you and your children on another exciting year of attending ITB schools!


ITB Dad in Doghouse After Ruining Back to School Picture


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Raleigh College Students Break Natural Light and Cook’s Rosé Sales Record

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The Cameron Village Harris Teeter is recovering from a month that saw sales of Natural Light and Cook’s Rosé hit an all-time high. The popular grocery store did over $6 million in sales just from those two products in the month of August. The spike in sales can be traced to the return of area college students.

According to store manager John Clifford, Harris Teeter employees have spent the last few weeks in a continuous loop of checking suspicious out-of-state IDs, restocking shelves with Natural Light and Cook’s Rosé, and retrieving shopping carts that had been left stranded throughout the parking lot.


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“The crowds were large, but nowhere near as large as when local meteorologists incorrectly predict we’ll get 3 inches of snow,” said Clifford, who was glad to see the students return.

Zack Smith, a sophomore at NC State, was glad he could contribute to the record-setting month. “As a 21-year-old, who is 21 years old, it’s good to know we helped set a record. Natural Light is just so versatile. It’s great for flip cup, beer pong, tailgating, playing Fortnite, you name it,” he said, while loading 16 cases of Natural Light into a tan 2006 Tahoe.

Hunter Webster, a fraternity brother of Smith’s, added, “It’s also healthy. It’s like the La Croix of beers.”

Clifford implemented a few changes to make sure the store was prepared to capitalize on the influx of students.



For example, after checking out, students were given the chance to take a picture inside of a cardboard cutout of the Harris Teeter Instagram account with a caption that read, “Back to school shopping fam! HT so lit rn! #backtoschool #ht #cvht” An employee also handed out “We did it!” stickers to each shopper.

Clifford said that heaping praise on students for simply purchasing groceries was part of a customer retention strategy. “With all these food delivery companies popping up every week we realize it’s hard for these students to actually go shopping. We wanted to reward them and make their trip more of an experience.”


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The strategy seemed to win over at least a few students. “I like that they made me feel like I accomplished something by going to the store on my own,” said Allison Morris, a junior at Meredith. Morris added that she “fell in love” with rosé during her summer session abroad in France.


With the record-setting month coming to a close, Clifford’s focus must now shift. “We’re excited about the record and we love having the students back. We made it through the first wave without any employees going on strike. Now we’re getting ready for Pumpkin Spice season, which starts tomorrow.”

The Best Back to School Rosé

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ITB Dad in Doghouse After Ruining Back to School Picture

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ITB Family Nearly Torn Apart Over School Photo

A Hayes Barton family was almost torn apart after a disastrous first day of school. Grace Anne Stewart, a mother of two, came close to filing for divorce after her husband, Charles Stewart, failed to follow her simple instructions for taking a back to school photo of their children.

Grace Anne had gone out of town to be with her sister who was giving birth, one of the only reasons a mother would miss a back to school photo shoot of her kids. She laid out specific instructions and sent Charles a reminder text early Monday morning.

Charles woke up, read the text, remembered about half of it, and began his day. He tried putting the kids into the outfits his wife had chosen, but gave up after mild tantrums ensued. He bribed the children with extra iPad time to get them to write their names on the chalkboard and then quickly took the pictures.

As the kids got in the car for the .3 mile trek to school, Charles got on a conference call with his commercial real estate colleagues. It was time to analyze their recent Fantasy Football draft. Charles got caught up in discussing who should start at his flex spot and forgot to send the pictures to his wife.



He dropped the kids off at school, assuming he’d won Father of the Year for getting them there on time. By 9:00 am, Grace Anne knew something was wrong. She texted her husband.

Grace Anne: Charles! Where are the pictures?!

Charles: Sorry, got caught up on a work call. It was important.

Grace Anne: It’s 9:05 am. Our picture won’t be seen by as many people if we don’t post it right now. We need at least 100 likes this year.

Charles sent the pictures at 9:06 am, which is the exact moment his marriage nearly came to an end.

Grace Anne: CHARLES!!!!

Charles: Don’t the kids look cute?

Grace Anne: The chalkboard, Charles. The fucking chalkboard.

Charles: I put the chalkboard out!
Grace Anne: Yeah, you did, but those grades are from LAST YEAR. David had a huge growth spurt this summer. He doesn’t look like he’s going into the 4th grade, unless he’s the Hodor of Root. He’s a damn giant.

Charles: It’s not my fault the kids don’t know what grade they’re going into. There are literally 1 million pictures of kids going back to school today on social media. No one actually reads the chalkboards.

Grace Anne: Well three of my group texts noticed immediately. And I told you to put him in seersucker shorts and a Brooks Brothers polo from the ITBack to School Must Haves guide. Why is he wearing a Golden State Warriors t-shirt and basketball shorts?! This isn’t a Jaycee basketball game!!!


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Charles: I’ll fix it.

Grace Anne: How?! Now we don’t have a first day of school picture to post next to our last day of school picture at the end of the year! Do you want this to be your second divorce before you’re 35? We are done. DONE!

Charles knew nothing good could come from replying to an all caps “done” text message. Thinking he could salvage the picture, and hoping to avoid another costly divorce, Charles cancelled his scheduled 3 hour coffee meeting at Third Place, hopped in his Yukon, and sped towards Root.

He pulled the kids out of class, did 95 down Glenwood, and arrived at home. He frantically made the kids change clothes and pose for another picture in front of the chalkboard, now updated with the correct grades. He took a dozen pictures and sent them to his wife by 10:00 am.

Grace Anne: These are fine. But if this doesn’t get 100 likes so help me God…

As of 6:00 pm the picture had only received 87 likes.


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The Best Back to School Rosé

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Rosé. You know it. You love it. You live for it. With help from our friends at Seaboard Wine at High Park, we’ve come up with a selection of rosé to help you transition from summer to the first week of school. We’ve also included actual wine knowledge that you can casually drop at your next dinner party so you’ll sound like a Southern Belle sommelier. Remember, drink responsibly.

Seaboard Wine at High Park has a more in-depth list of rosé selections on their website. Sign up for their e-mail newsletter (near the bottom of the page) to stay up to date on events, tastings, and all things wine.



Domaine Houchart ‘Sainte Victoire’ Rosé 2017; Côtes de Provence, France ($17.99)

The pool doesn’t close for a few more weeks. There’s still time to grab a bottle or five and relax while you let the lifeguards watch your kids (it is literally their job). This rosé is an annual favorite from the Quiot family. A blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre, this light pink classic style Provence Rosé shows notably more depth and complexity than the usual French Rosé. Beautifully balanced strawberry, white peach, and mineral notes will pair nicely with firm cheeses, quiche, and steamed shellfish. I’m sure it pairs well with mozzarella stix from the pool bar as well.

Mittelbach “T” Zweigelt Rosé 2017, Lower Austria ($14.99)

Your toddler is now a big kid and heading off to their first day of kindergarten. You. can. not. even. You’ll need at least three bottles of this rosé to get through this emotional rollercoaster. The 2017 vintage shows brilliant neon pink color with fresh cherry, lavender, and rose petal aromas. Dry, yet juicy crushed red berry fruit on the palate, balanced with fresh acidity and just a peek of spice on the crisp lively finish. Great with picnic foods, salads, mild cheeses or fish dishes, as well as taking a picture of your child standing on the front porch in front of a chalk board with their name on it.

Sierra Cantabria Rosé 2017; Rioja, Spain ($12.99)

Perfect for book club. You’ve read the book, sort of. You’ve pretended to identify with the characters and themes. Now it’s time to humble brag about your three-week trip to Italy and gossip about how the neighbors can afford that new addition on their house. This “Rosé” is made in the Clairette style, where fermentation occurs with the grape skins rather than removing them. While Rosés are usually all red grapes, Clairettes have a large percentage of white grapes. In this case, Viura, Garnacha, and Tempranillo make a Rosé with aromas of red berries and a hint of anise with a persistent finish. Delicious with cheese and charcuterie or steamed shellfish.



Pullus Spritzar Rosé 2017, 250ml cans; Ptuj, Slovenia ($17.99/4 pk)

This rosé comes in a pack of four, which makes it perfect for Target shopping, attending youth sporting events, school plays, and other on the go activities. This rosé is produced from grafts of the oldest grape vine in the world. The varietal Žametovka is 400 years old and is grown in Maribor, Slovenia. The grapes used for Spritzar were grafted from this vine in 1990. Loads of strawberry aromatics and flavors and a splash of Slovenian carbonated water make this an all day drinker. (Note: ITB Insider and Seaboard Wine will not be held liable if you get in trouble for bringing these into Target. Please contact Stacy Miller for all legal questions.)


Stobi Rosé 2017; Tikveš, Macedonia ($13.99/750ml bottle or $36.99/3 liter box!)

The in-laws are coming. In a few short weeks, they’ll be in town for a college football game and to tell you how to do things. You’ll need to start pre-gaming before you even start pre-gaming. Fortunately, in central Macedonia, the Mediterranean climate from the south collides with the continental climate from the north, creating an area most remarkable for grape growing and wine production. This blend of 80% Rkatsiteli and 20% Vranec is fresh and floral with strawberry and a touch of pungent grapefruit. It is a refreshing apertif or pair with lighter picnic dishes. It also comes in a handy 3-liter box that fits perfectly in the fridge or your YETI cooler.

Ponte Rosé 2017; Vinho Verde, Portugal ($11.99)

Need a little spritz in your Rosé? You bet your sweet brunch you do. Aromas of watermelon and raspberry pop out of the glass in this lovely, effervescent Vinho Verde. The flavors are balanced by high acidity, a juicy finish and a slight fizz, this is the ultimate thirst quencher to beat the heat at the soccer game or little league tournament. This can easily be paired with a salty pimento cheese dip or crispy fried chicken.

This article was co-written with our partner, Seaboard Wine at High Park.


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Is La Croix Bad For Your Teeth? ITBlake Investigates

in Humor/ITB Intern/Sponsored by


ITBlake the intern visited Downtown Dental, one of our sponsors and the only ITB approved dentist, to ask some hard-hitting questions about La Croix and Tide Pods. Dr. Brett Wells was nice enough to take the time to answer. This is the peak of journalism.

Things ITBlake learned:

Drink 2 and 1/3 cans of La Croix per day

La Croix is not mouthwash

Tide Pods are incredibly abrasive and will probably kill you

Do not take your teeth out and wash them with Tide Pods

ITBlake also refilled the Downtown Dental La Croix refrigerator, because that’s one of his responsibilities here at ITB Insider™.

Overall, it was a very educational experience for ITBlake. He is now considering a career in dentistry. We’ll have more from his visit in a few weeks.

As ITBlake said, check out Downtown Dental for the tooth experience of your life. They’re located in downtown Raleigh at 205 Fayetteville Street.

You can follow Downtown Dental on:

Instagram @smilesbydtd

Facebook @DowntownDental

Twitter @DowntownDental2

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Trial of the Millennials: Stacy Miller Wins $5 Million Verdict Against Fyre Festival Founder

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If you don’t know about Fyre Festival, here’s a recap: Lord of the Fyres: Tales from a Surfyrevor.

Justice is a dish best served cold, like a cheese sandwich in a styrofoam container. A $5 million judgment was made last week in Wake County against Billy McFarland, the founder of the infamous Fyre Festival. In what shall be known as “the trial of the millennials,” attorney Stacy Miller obtained the judgment for two North Carolina consumers. I was one of them.

I had a front row seat as Stacy recounted the fraud committed by the 27-year-old New York entrepreneur. McFarland already agreed to pay $26 million to investors and a ticketing company as part of a plea deal related to fraud charges brought by the FBI. In June, McFarland was charged with wire fraud and money laundering related to a DIFFERENT ticketing scam that he was allegedly running while waiting to be sentenced for his Fyre fraud charges. Stacy described McFarland’s greed as, “Pure, unadulterated greed. Greed on an epic level. A greed so disgusting that it makes headlines all the way around the world.” (Call Stacy Miller 919-348-4361 if you have questions.)


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I shared the news a few hours after the hearing.

Vice News picked up the story on Saturday. I felt slightly triggered by the use of the term “bros” in one of their Tweets, so I clarified that Mark (#heyMark) and I are not actually related.

Then The News & Observer reported that I was “popular” and that I have at least one friend.


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That’s when I started getting a lot of texts and calls on the topic. To save time, I’ve provided answers to some frequently asked questions.

Did this really happen?
Yes. We appeared in front of a judge in Wake County Superior Court on Thursday, June 28. Stacy and his team at Miller Law Group had been working on the case for a year. Stacy presented the facts and a judgment was awarded.

How much were you awarded?
The judgment was for $1.5 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages for myself, and the same for Mark, for a total of $5 million.

But you’re not going to get any of that money, right?
We intend to collect. ITBlake the intern may have to make a trip to New York soon to investigate.


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What is Billy McFarland doing now?
He is currently in jail in New York waiting for his next court date on July 26.

Are you going to buy the Lambo that keeps parking in a no parking zone on Glenwood?
No. Lambos are a waste of money.

Did you really buy the Fyre Festival trademark?
Yup. While doing research for the Dumpster Fyre Podcast I discovered the trademark was about to expire. I had a copyright attorney file an application, so I can now use the mark on clothing and for the purpose of putting on a music festival. Don’t worry, I promise not to leave people stranded on an island. And I’m not smart enough to defraud investors of millions. Guess that makes two of us.


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Are you really starting a podcast?
Yes. I don’t have a start date, but it’s in production. I’ve been interviewing attendees, reporters, and others about the story. Follow along on Twitter @DumpsterFyrePod, Instagram @DumpsterFyrePodcast, and Facebook @DumpsterFyrePodcast.

Why are you still talking about Fyre Festival?
I know there are more important things going on in the world. However, I’m still intrigued by this story, which is about a lot more than the festival and McFarland defrauding investors. You’re free to unfollow or stop reading whenever you’d like.

What does this mean for ITB Insider?
Nothing. We will continue to be the fastest growing startup media empire in Raleigh, focused on leveraging synergies to maximize engagement and meet key performance indicators. For those of you who didn’t go to business school, this just means we’ll keep writing stories and making videos of ITBlake doing dumb stuff to get views and likes that validate our existence.

Where are you putting the statue of Stacy?
In front of Broughton.

None of this would have happened if we didn’t have Stacy Miller as our attorney. I’d highly recommend him for your consumer fraud legal needs. Hopefully Billy McFarland will learn something from this. The great King White said it best:



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ITBlake Learns How To Wash Cars And Be A Penguin Mascot

in Humor/ITB Intern by

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ITBlake the intern came to me with a problem. He needed a summer job that would allow him the flexibility to be a famous intern and also play Fortnite (it’s a video game) constantly. I told him that I would help him find a job, despite being overwhelmingly busy with launching a podcast, running a media empire, and trying not to get sued.

We posted an ad and his résumé in the micITBit Facebook group.

We got a lot of great responses but ITBlake didn’t follow up with any of them. So I took it upon myself to find him a job and set up an interview.

I reached out to Scot Wingo, who was named 2018 CEO of the Year by The Triangle Business Journal. Wingo is the CEO of Spiffy, a local company revolutionizing car care. Spiffy’s convenience and eco-friendly process have made them a triangle favorite. With the tap of a phone screen, they bring car washing, detailing, and oil changes to you. Using the Spiffy app, you can quickly schedule an appointment and their professionally trained technicians show up with everything they need to make your car stand out from all the others in the White Memorial pickup line.

Wingo had the perfect job in mind for ITBlake. As you can see from the video, we pivoted from our original strategy of having ITBlake wash cars, and instead focused on leveraging ITBlake wearing a penguin costume while synergistcally standing on the side of (and sometimes in the middle of) a busy road to attract attention.

We generated over 1M impressions that day. To thank ITBlake for his hard work, Spiffy is offering our loyal readers $20 off a full wash or detail, or $10 off oil changes. Just use code “ITB” when checking out. You’re welcome.

ITBehind the scenes footage:

Dads Won’t Stop Fly Fishing In Orvis Parking Lot

in Humor by

Contribute to the Hurricane Florence recovery efforts:

North Carolina Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund

NC Hospital Foundation Disaster Relief Fund

Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC

Habitat for Humanity

United Way

Volunteer for a 6 or 12 hour shift with the Red Cross

The Carolina Cavalry

Why cash is better than donations


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A new addition to the Ridgewood shopping center has area fishing enthusiasts flying high. After it was reported in the Development Beat that the new Orvis in Ridgewood had opened, dozens of dads from inside the beltline have flocked to the store’s parking lot. They aren’t just there to check out new gear. These dads are there to fish, or at least practice fishing.

With the flooding of Crabtree Creek becoming more common, combined with Raleigh’s new “pop-up” fishing holes that result from the city’s decaying sewer and water infrastructure, it’s no surprise that fishermen are taking to the streets to practice fly fishing. We spent some time investigating the phenomenon.


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“They come out at all hours of the day, all days of the week,” said one Orvis employee. “It’s like that scene in the movie Field of Dreams. They just start appearing from in between the rows of Tahoes and Yukons in the Whole Foods parking lot.”

An avid fly fisherman, who arrived at 6:00 am carrying his Orvis Battenkill reel in a monogrammed Filson case, shared his excitement over the new sporting goods store. “It’s just nice to get away from the office and come to the great outdoors. There’s no better place to tighten your loops and practice your back cast than a new Orvis parking lot,” said Davis Franklin, a commercial real estate broker.

“Surrounded by the beautiful stone facade and the traffic on the Wade Avenue 500, I can just close my eyes and imagine I’m hooking a bonefish on our annual Bahamas trip,” he added.

To recreate optimal fishing conditions, the store installed a livestream of a live stream. A video of a live stream in the North Carolina mountains is projected onto the side of the building while the soothing sounds of the water can be heard from the Bose surround sound speakers mounted in the parking lot.

The live stream livestream

The live stream livestream has been a huge hit, with many dads returning at night in their North Face Cat’s Meow sleeping bags to simply watch the river. Customers have already requested that a livestream of graduations, childbirths, school plays, and music recitals be played so they won’t have to leave the parking lot.


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The lot continued to fill. Two dads wearing ultralight waders and Barbour vests in the 90 degree heat unloaded gear from their Yukons while debating whether to use a 4 weight or a 7 weight when catching bluegill at Lassiter Mill.

Nearby, a father was giving his son a lesson. “So this is called a wind knot. You’re going to get those if you keep tomahawking your cast like that,” he explained, as he placed a metronome on the curb to teach his son proper timing.


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One dad even brought a boat to the parking lot.

“I always try to snag some red drum while tooling around Rich’s inlet,” said Thomas Miller III, attempting to recreate those conditions by sitting in his boat that rested on the asphalt.

Another fisherman chimed in. “You might want to stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to in that drift boat, pal. I was about to bring my Jones Brothers Cape Fisherman out here and work on my double haul. Then my wife said all her friends that shop at Whole Foods might see me and think I was slacking off with their investments,” said Five Points resident and financial planner Vance Craig VI.


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“I’m just glad we’ve got an Orvis in Raleigh now,” added Craig VI, refusing to acknowledge the existence of the Orvis at Triangle Town Center. He went on to name-drop Orvis CEO Perk Perkins. “We’ve been giving Perk a hard time at the hunting camp for not having one of these inside the beltline. I told him I’d personally spend at least six figures a year if he’d just put one somewhere close.”



Craig VI then entered the store to purchase three new rods, a dog jacket, and a shotshell collar with an engraved brass plate for Birdie, his golden retriever puppy.



To keep potential customers in the parking lot longer, Orvis designed a custom OtterBox DryBox YETI container for cell phone storage. Customers can store their phones and be free from distractions as they perfect their casts.

“We want this to be a safe space for our customers while they practice the sport they love. I’m not sure anyone is improving, but they’re buying a lot of gear,” said an Orvis employee.

The store has done over $3 million in sales since opening last month.


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The N&O Praises Intern For Saving Iconic Sign

in Humor/ITB Intern by

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A Broughton High School senior is finally being recognized by the media after a year of hard work. The News & Observer, a newspaper located in Raleigh, North Carolina, reported on the incredible story of how ITBlake the intern single-handedly saved a piece of history. Seriously, here is the article that features ITBlake the intern in the newspaper.

Over the last year, ITBlake spent countless hours managing a social media campaign using the hashtag #savethesign. The goal was to draw attention to the N.C. Equipment Co. building’s tractor sign (or is it a bulldozer?) that was in danger of being demolished along with the rest of the building. The campaign generated over 60 million impressions on social media and dominated brunch and dinner party conversations for months.


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ITBlake initially planned on taking legal action. “At first I thought about taking this to the Supreme Court of the world, but Stacy Miller was too busy dealing with Fyre Festival™ lawsuits. And if you can’t have Stacy as your attorney then there’s no point in even trying,” said ITBlake the intern.



In a last-ditch effort, ITBlake handcuffed himself to the sign for weeks, surviving on LaCroix and Rise biscuits alone. His dedication to the cause worked, as developers announced plans to save the sign and incorporate it into the new student housing development being built on the site.


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ITB Insider™ posted the news of ITBlake the intern’s victory on Instagram and Twitter.

The News & Observer’s Josh Shaffer saw the story and began to investigate. ITBlake’s story was so powerful that Shaffer featured it in his article on the history of the sign. Here’s ITBlake the intern’s big newspaper debut.

Once you get through the Kroger and Netflix DVD rental pop-up ads, you’ll see ITBlake featured in the article.

Many Raleigh residents were pleased to see the heartwarming story get the attention it deserved.

“It’s great to see the media covering stories that matter, instead of wasting time on articles about where Amazon will put their headquarters based on some “source”,” said Five Points resident and commercial real estate broker Vance Craig VI.


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“I don’t read the news because of my crippling addiction to micITBit and other buy/sell/trade Facebook groups. But I did see this on Facebook as I scrolled by a Kissy Kissy Dogs Day Out footie that was too small for lil Vance VII and it made me happy,” added Mary Cameron Knoll Craig, who runs an Instagram account featuring images of the best Wine and Design paintings in Raleigh.

As for ITBlake, he reacted to the news of his appearance in the news as any 18 year-old would. With a simple “Omg”.

Omg indeed, ITBlake. Omg indeed.


Baskin-Robbins In Cameron Village Closed And Dunkin Donuts Is To Blame

in Humor/ITBNN by
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Dunkin Donuts Just Ruined Your Childhood

Baskin-Robbins in Cameron Village, an institution to generations of Raleigh residents for over 50 years, is closed. I was sent the picture below on Wednesday afternoon.

I was already exhausted from covering Webb’s victory, debuting ITBlake the intern’s house flipping video, editing the Development Beat, and breaking the news about Apple moving to NC (more on that later).

Still, I pressed on to read the letter written by the owners of the Baskin-Robbins in Cameron Village. A sadness melted over me as I read each sentence.

According to the letter, the parent company of Dunkin Brands (aka Dunkin Donuts) thought the “location and the age of this store can no longer meet the brand standard” and gave the owners the choice to move to a different location. The owners declined and have decided to retire. That’s right, Dunkin Donuts kills jobs.


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The letter ended, “It has been an honor to serve such a loyal group of customers and we will close happily with fond memories,” which is the classiest and most mature way you can handle this situation.

I, however, am anything but mature. I will now destroy any argument in favor of the existence of Dunkin Donuts. First, what “brand standard” does Dunkin Donuts have? What even is Dunkin Donuts? Is it a donut shop or a coffee shop? I’ve never eaten their donuts, but I imagine they taste like rocks or dog food.


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For some reason, their coffee is an obsession for people from the North. Not the good North from Game of Thrones, the North that we roll our eyes at when their former residents, who now live here, try to coffee-splain how good Dunkin is to us. Full disclosure: I have some of their coffee K-cups and they aren’t even that great. I will be lighting those on fire in protest.

To align with their “brand standards” I assume they’ll build these Dunkin Donuts/Baskin-Robbins hybrid stores as stand-alone locations on some busy road instead of a nice upscale retail destination center nestled between some of Raleigh’s oldest neighborhoods and the best high school in the country.


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It’s pretty obvious that Dunkin was just afraid of moving into a location around the corner from Rise Biscuits and Donuts (one of our fine sponsors). Going head to head with Rise is a donut death wish.

I shared the picture of the letter on social media around 4:00 pm on Wednesday (before the “real news” outlets even knew about the story, obvi). By the time I posted this article, the social posts received an outpouring of comments from people remembering fond times they had there.

My own mom used to go there when she was pregnant with me, and look how I turned out. People recalled taking “field trips” there during school. Broughton legend Mary Holt Collins recalled the Broughton girls soccer state championship tradition of running from the track to Baskin-Robbins.

A few more comments (my comments in bold)

Scene of my parents’ first date – (this place literally created life)

Do they not realize the patrons don’t care that the store isn’t the typical chain?

So sad! My kids will be crushed!!!

Dunkin Donuts sucks.

Is anything sacred?

Every birthday cake for my sons special day has come from that store since they could choose their cake. So sad. It’s always busy and that family (not BR/DD) has always worked hard at customer service.

The ice cream is good but the owner is great. A real loss to me and my family.

First blockbuster now this…all our good report card rewards disappearing

I’d like to mourn this loss the only way I know how, by eating an entire mint chocolate chip ice cream cake by myself in a dark room listening to The Connells. But I can’t do that. Not in a “I can’t sit around at a time like this! I’m going to stand up and fight for what’s right!” kind of way. I mean I literally cannot buy a mint chocolate chip ice cream cake anymore.


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Therefore, I am calling on a city-wide boycott of all Dunkin Donuts stores, products, commercials, advertisements, and anything related to the company. If we can’t have Baskin-Robbins in Cameron Village, Dunkin Donuts can’t have our customers in Raleigh. Last night, I put a plan in motion.



This is just a start. I haven’t even talked to my attorney Stacy Miller yet to see if what Dunkin is doing is even legal. If we work together who knows what could happen.


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ITBlake Flips A House

ITBlake Flips A House

in Humor/ITB Intern by
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ITBlake the intern has been working hard over the last year. We’ve seen him complete multiple workout classes, cover the Raleigh Christmas parade, and much more. We’re excited to finally share the results of one of his passion projects. Early on in his internship, ITBlake came to me and said, “The real estate market is booming. I want to learn how to flip houses.” So I arranged for a house to be purchased in Five Points, and told ITBlake to watch as many episodes of HGTV renovation shows as he could.

After watching countless episodes of the hit show Fixer Upper, ITBlake learned how to flip houses. He just finished renovating a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath, 2,407 square foot home at 404 W Aycock Street. ITBlake spent days working on the project, only taking breaks to walk down to Roanoke Park and play Fortnite on his phone.

We produced our own HGITB episode to show off all his hard work. We also figured this would be a hit with his target demographic, because nothing appeals to ITB moms more than ITBlake and home renovation projects.

As you can see from the first episode of the series, ITBlake thought of everything:

Space for parking multiple Yukon XLs from Thompson Buick GMC Cadillac (Hey Mark)

“Baby in a wall” storage, great for those with new babies who need to get some rest

Quartz countertops – also known as “rock” countertops


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Plenty of room to throw produce to Jimmy as he leaves for school

Stove capable of cooking steaks, pasta, sauces, and more

Everything is designed to be very cute

Harry Potter bathroom

Master bedroom with a clock

Efficient shower for ITBlake and his future wife Emma Watson

Furniture from micITBit- NO POMS

A storage shed with doors that lead into the storage shed

(This is an actual house for sale. Contact John Hawkins with Fonville Morisey for details.)


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Here are some before and after pictures:

Webb Simpson Dominates The Players Championship

in ITBNN by
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Raleigh’s Webb Simpson had quite a weekend. The Broughton and Wake Forest graduate, 2012 U.S. Open winner, Ryder Cup team member, Presidents Cup team member, Broughton Hall of Famer, cousin of Bonner Gaylord, and Carolina Country Club course record holder dominated the competition to win The PLAYERS Championship on Mother’s Day.

To celebrate, a victory parade will be held every day at 1:00 pm for the rest of May on the following route:

Winning the hearts and minds of the entire world isn’t easy, but Webb made it look that way. He shot 18 under par, decimating his peers, including the likes of Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, and everyone else who lost.

Tiger was gracious in defeat.


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Webb’s Friday round of 63, featuring 9 birdies and an eagle, tied the TPC Sawgrass course record. He also set a record for the largest margin through three rounds and tied Greg Norman’s 54-hole record at 19-under 197.

Webb overcame a lot in this victory. After winning the U.S. Open in 2012, the PGA Tour banned the anchored putting stroke (belly putter) used by Webb and many other golfers. It was a ruling made out of fear, fear that Webb would go on to win every single tournament for the rest of his career. The PGA was worried that Webb’s dominance would discourage younger players from even trying to play golf.


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With the ban in place, Webb’s putting declined. The day before the 2017 Players Championship began, Webb had a conversation with NC State alum Tim Clark while on the putting green. Clark suggested Webb try out a claw grip. Using his genius IQ and LeBron Jamesesque photographic memory, Webb memorized the grip in less than two seconds and is now 10th in putting this season.


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One of the best parts of Webb leading all weekend was that the announcers were able to focus on Broughton. Here they are congratulating the Broughton boys golf team for winning their 12th state title.


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And here they are talking about Broughton’s Pistol Pete Maravich.

The victory was Webb’s fifth on the PGA Tour and makes him eligible for the World Golf Hall of Fame. Webb is now ranked 20th in the world and 9th in the Ryder Cup standings. So congratulations to Webb, his team, family, and friends. Everyone should celebrate this victory. But if there was any question as to where Webb is from, he gave Raleigh’s SportsChannel8 the exclusive answer last week.

As always, we got a glimpse of Webb taking a phone call after his victory.

“Hey Bonner, yeah I know it’s almost surfing season. Let me call you back. I’ve gotta go add to my trophy case.”

Go Webb, go Caps, go America.

Highlights from Webb’s win:

During his victory press conference, a reporter asked if Webb had really broken his belly putter. Webb replied:

“I was going to play in the Dunlop Phoenix tournament. I had made a plan to switch to the short putter that week kind of under the radar, I knew you guys wouldn’t be there. It was a year before the rule was enforced so I thought I’d get a year under my belt. I started to chicken out a little bit, and I called Paul and said ‘Hey I’m gonna take the belly putter one more tournament.’ My wife’s in the driveway pulling out with the kids and I tell her this, and I see my bag in the garage and I see the belly putter. For whatever reason I had the urge to break it. If I break it I can’t take it with me. So I go over there and snap it over my knee and I’m on the way to throw it in the trash can, and she tells me I better hang on to it, it’s been pretty good to me. So I put it in my trophy case, both pieces, and then went to Japan with the short putter.”

Lord of the Fyres: Tales from a Surfyrevor

in Fyre Festival/ITBNN by


Update: 10/11/18

Billy McFarland was sentenced to six years in prison. We’ll definitely be covering this on the Dumpster Fyre Podcast.

BREAKING: Fyre Festival scammer Billy McFarland sentenced to 6 years in prison – Vice News

Fyre Festival Organizer Sentenced to Six Years in Federal Prison – The New York Times

Update: 6/28/18

Trial of the Millennials: Stacy Miller Wins $5 Million Verdict Against Fyre Festival Founder

Update: 4/26/18

A lot has happened in the last year. A fellow Fyre Festival™ attendee and I filed a lawsuit against the festival organizers once we returned home. I’m not legally allowed to talk about it, but let’s just say that Stacy Miller is the best attorney in the world. Once that was resolved, I made a pretty big purchase to celebrate. No, I didn’t buy VIP passes to Coachella or take a trip back to Exuma. I bought the Fyre Festival™ trademark.

While doing research for my upcoming podcast, I discovered that the trademark for Fyre Festival™ was set to expire in April 2018. I’m somewhat of a business expert, having gone to college, and I had a feeling this mark was not going to be renewed. See, when a company goes bankrupt, or when people involved with it are facing prison time, they sometimes forget to renew their trademarks. So I had a copyright attorney file an application as soon as it expired. I now own Fyre Festival™.

This means that I have to actually put on a music festival in order to use the mark in commerce. While I have no idea how to put on a music festival, I definitely know what NOT to do. My goal here is to see if I can throw a festival, have a good time, and give back to a good cause or charity. I know there are some people in Exuma who are still owed quite a bit of money after not being paid by festival organizers. I also have some friends who just opened the first and only special-needs home and therapy center for orphans in Panama. I’m sure they’d be glad to take donations.

That all leads to the Dumpster Fyre Podcast, a docu-style series that explores how the first festival became the biggest dumpster fire ever, and also follows along as we try to plan another one. Stay tuned for more updates on the podcast and Fyre Festival™ II. It’s gonna be lit.

To celebrate the one year anniversary, I now present “Twas the night before Fyre Festival™”

Twas the night before Fyre Festival™, and one year had gone by,
Not an influencer was stirring, and we all knew why.

The disaster relief tents were gone, and the stage was not there,
In hopes that all would forget and that no one would care.

The millennials were nestled all snug on their phones,
Watching Kanye on Twitter, definitely in one of his zones,

And Billy awaited sentencing, probably in his home,
Eating a cheese sandwich, unable to roam.

When out on Twitter there arose such a clatter,
People refreshed their timelines to see what was the matter,

When what to their wondering eyes should appear,
A major announcement, not a joke, but sincere.

From a Fyre Festival™ survivor, who covered it best,
Came news that he hoped would top all the rest.

I went to Fyre Festival™ to relax and satirize
I could not make up what happened, it was such a surprise

A lot went wrong on that island, it was far from fine.
So I’ve filed a trademark, meaning Fyre Festival™ is now mine.

It’s time to make things right for all who were there,
Not just the millennials, but the people of Exuma who weren’t treated fair.

And what better way than to throw Fyre Festival™ II.
To promote the Dumpster Fyre Podcast, and also entertain all of you.


Originally published on May 10, 2017

Lord of the Fyres: Tales from a Surfyrevor

I survived the first Fyre Festival. The now infamous festival was supposed to be an event in the Bahamas unlike anything else. Entrepreneur Billy McFarland and Rapper/Actor Ja Rule (The Fast and The Furious) co-founded the festival in late 2016. They began promoting it in December with the help of famous influencers.

Along with this video, the festival’s website promoted a $1 million treasure hunt, luxury accommodations on a private island once owned by Pablo Escobar, exquisite cuisine, exclusive experiences like swimming with island pigs, and a music festival with soon to be announced big-name acts. This was clearly the trip of a lifetime. Three friends and I bought tickets during the first week they were on sale. We upgraded to VIP and one friend and I also bought an “Artist Pass” which included your food, drinks, backstage passes, 4 nights on the island, and “exclusive” experiences.

This was my chance to finally become BFFs with all the influencers and celebrities that would be there. I’d played the scenario out a million times in my head leading up to the trip. Emily Ratajkowski, Hailey Baldwin, The Rock, and I would be hanging out backstage looking at pictures of Dogs of ITB.

We would start chatting about how I run a media empire in Raleigh, and they’d all start following me for all my fire #content. The Rock would say, “I loved that story you wrote about how I’d be playing football for NC State next year. Will you be in Fast and Fur9ious? We need someone that drives a Tahoe.”

“Thanks, The Rock. I’d love to, if I can fit it in my schedule,” I’d say, trying to play it cool.

“Are you the guy that created the hottest buy/sell Facebook group for moms in Raleigh?”

“It’s not just for moms, Hailey Baldwin. micITBit is for everyone. It’s a closed group but I could probably approve you,” I’d say, negging her slightly.

We’d spend the rest of the weekend swimming with the pigs and Instagramming until we got carpal tunnel. “My ITBFF Justin Miller has a pig named Theodore. Don’t worry, you’ll meet him when you move to Raleigh,” I’d say, while telling them about inside the beltline. I’d influence them into buying luxury condos at The Wade. We’d all live there together and launch a reality show on Facebook Live produced by Walk West, since TV networks will be dead in 5 years. It was going to be perfect. And then, we got to the island.

As you can see, all of my dreams were crushed when Fyre Festival turned out to be a mashup of Lord of the Flies meets Outbreak meets Locked Up Abroad. They didn’t even have LaCroix. My media empire instincts kicked in and I started documenting the event like I was the Samuel Pepys of Fyre Festival. My coverage was used in pretty much every story about the event and my Tweets were included in the $100M class action lawsuit.

You’re probably thinking, “This is great for you. You gained thousands of followers and a ton of exposure!” To be clear, I didn’t want 15 minutes of global fame. I didn’t want over 50 million impressions on Twitter in April. I didn’t want to spend weeks doing interviews with the LA Times, People, CNN, the Washington Post, TMZ Live, Time, BBC, NPR, Inside Edition, and dozens of other outlets. Sure, all of those things were great for my #brand, but all I wanted from Fyre Festival was a relaxing vacation and new famous friends.

To show you what we went through, I’ve provided an in-depth account of exactly what happened. If you enjoy watching train wrecks, you’re going to love this.

Thursday, April 27th

12:000 pm – My friends and I had lunch outside of Boynton Beach. It would be our last meal not served in a styrofoam container for the next 24 hours. We left for the Miami airport and arrived with plenty of time for our 4:35 pm flight to Great Exuma. We boarded the plane and sat on the runway for about half an hour. Someone tried to open their window and this happened, which we should have taken as a sign.

Still, we continued on. We arrived on the island, boarded shuttle buses and rode for about 15 minutes. That’s when we saw this.

7:51 PM – We realized organization isn’t their strong suit.

At this point, co-founder Billy McFarland tells people with a Lodge to “go find a tent”. That went well.

Here’s the first tent that we claimed.

We returned to where we had been dropped off and asked where our tent was, again.

8:26 pm – Night had fallen. We had no luggage, but managed to find another tent.

“A disaster relief tent is where the heart is.” – Martha Stewart #fyre #fyrefest #fyrefestival

A post shared by William Needham Finley IV (@wnfiv) on

8:56 pm – Two of us without luggage split up to hunt for our belongings while our other friends stayed back to guard the tent.

The “white glove concierge luggage service” required you to use your phone flashlight and dig through hundreds of bags to find your own. Maybe this was the treasure hunt they had advertised. I started to help unload a pickup truck full of luggage and just happened to grab my bag. A true Fyre Festival miracle. I dropped my luggage off at our temporary tent and then went to cover what was going on.

I believe this is when we found THE NOTEBOOK. We could devote an entire Dumpster Fyre Podcast episode to this. “Chips?” kills me every time I look at this picture.

The number one thing on the to-do list dated April 14th (13 days before the festival) was “Complete our corporate application to HOPEFULLY start order”. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

I’ll give credit where credit is due. They did have a stage set up. I don’t think there was a DJ at this point. I assume Billy just grabbed the aux cord and started playing his “Lit AF Beach Jams” Spotify playlist on his phone.

I took some food back to our tent, which we were then kicked out of. We walked over to the main area where we had been dropped off and saw that people were getting on buses to leave. My friend went inside the main house and somehow convinced them to put us on a flight out that night.

The quaint General Store.

We rode to the airport with about 100 others who were desperate to get off the island.

Friday, April 28th

12:15 am – We were told the plane was on the way and that our flight would be at 1:30 am.

3:47 am – We had been sitting on the plane for over two hours while the crew tried to resolve an issue with the manifest not matching up to the headcount of people on the plane.

4:34 am – The crew asks us to get off the plane so they can check us in one by one.

7:08 am – Locked up abroad. I later learned that locking the doors was standard protocol. Still odd that they use a chain and padlock though.

Note: While reliving Fyre Festival™ on the one year anniversary I found this video that I had yet to post.

7:15 am – A girl loudly asks everyone in the airport “who is William Needham?”. (See the video below.) They were on to me. I remained silent. She continued, “No really. He’s in this room right now. Who is William Finley? He’s fucking hilarious.” Realizing that they weren’t going to sacrifice me to the island, I raised my hand. One girl asked, “Are you always this funny?” I just replied, “I try.”

If you recall, I had tweeted at my lawyer Stacy Miller as we boarded the plane (the first time) to leave the island at 1:47 am. He called me at about 7:30 am.

Stacy: Hey man are you ok? What is going on?

Me: I dunno, I haven’t slept in over 24 hours. I don’t really know how to make sentences.

Stacy: Are you still in the Bahamas?!

Me: I mean, I’m locked in an airport and they say a plane is coming soon, but yeah.

Stacy: Ok, well call me as soon as you land.

If you’re exhausted after reading all of that just imagine living through it. I don’t ever want to go back to Fyre Festival. I don’t ever want to go outside the beltline again. Final verdict: Fyre Festival gets 0 out of 5 beltlines.

Note: Fyre Festival organizers have allowed us to “apply” for a refund. During the application process they asked if we wanted to forgo our refund in exchange for double the number of VIP tickets to next year’s event. We all politely declined.

We still have not heard anything back after filling the forms out last week.

ITBlake Goes to Burn Boot Camp (VIDEO)

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ITBlake the intern survived his first Burn Boot Camp West Raleigh workout. I’m sure many of you are wondering why I would force him to stop playing Fortnite and actually do some work by attending this class. Not to get all Cambridge Analytica here, but our analytics have shown that ITBlake #content appeals to females between the ages of 25-44. It just so happens that the majority of Burn Boot Camp members fall into this demographic. ITBlake is an intern of the people, so having him attend a class was a no-brainer. As I told ITBlake in the video, this is his tribe, and you can’t spell tribe without ITB.


Even though we knew there would be a lot of ITBlake fans at the class I wanted to make sure he would be accepted by our target demographic. To be safe, I had him walk into the class with a monogrammed Lands End bag filled with La Croix, Pirate’s Booty, fruit pouches, and Paw Patrol fruit snacks.

As ITBlake worked out, I posted a few clips to my Instagram Story. The response was overwhelming. Below is just a small sample.


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I put a few other projects on hold and spent two days editing the video, which we’ll be submitting to Sundance and The Academy. In just over a week, the video has been viewed over 7,000 times on Facebook, has over 5,700 impressions and 152 likes on Instagram, and 674 views on Twitter (Twitter does not seem to be a big fan of ITBlake workout videos).


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A lot of people saw the video and asked “How did he survive? Does media empire insurance cover loss of interns?” Thankfully, Mary Holt Collins (Broughton legend, and one half of Humdinger Juice) was there to guide him. Shout out to her brother, Colin Fickes, for inventing juice and being a Broughton legend as well. 

Now that ITBlake is in peak physical condition, we’ll focus on finding him a summer job. We’re also in talks to give him his own show. Stay tuned.


ITBirdwatch 2018

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UPDATE: The baby owl hatched on March 25, 2018. We aren’t sure how much it weighs or how long it is. The mother and father are doing well. Our ITBirth announcement post has more details.

ITBirdwatch Brought To You By ITB Insider

Welcome to ITBirdwatch 2018, the exclusive source of the baby owl livestream. (Scroll down for highlights, added weekly.) In March, some good friends of mine told me about the huge following of their live birdwatching camera. Apparently, Nextdoor is obsessed with this family of Raleigh owls that can be watched online 24/7. I know nothing about owls, yet I am already addicted to this. I feel like Ed Harris in The Truman Show.


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Previously, on ITBirdwatch

We’ll keep this section updated with highlights that you may have missed.

4.24.18 – Highlights from April.

4.6.18 – 7:21 PM – Baby Owl surprised by Mom.

4.2.18 – 8:30 PM – Baby Owl eats its first snake. They grow up so fast.


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3.25.18 – 8:15 PM – Our first look at the baby owl

Highlights from February and March 2018 

Caution: it’s a bird eat bird world. And also frogs and mice.

2.2.18 – 10:14 PM – Owls talking

Why are you doing this?

I decided to capitalize on the owl camera craze by expanding the media empire to cover ITBirdwatching. I’m expecting people to start having owl watch parties as they fall in love with the baby owl.


We’ll have baby owl naming contests (corporate sponsors should contact me for naming rights), a baby owl Insta account, baby owl merch, the possibilities are endless. This should also keep ITBlake the intern’s ego in check. He was getting a little too famous, so hopefully the popularity of these owls will make him realize his place in the pecking order.

About the Owls

According to my friend’s children, the female owl’s name is “Scoop Ups” and the male owl’s name is “Drop Offs.” I’m not sure if this has anything to do with owl carpool pickup, but we’ll go with it. If you like birds, consider supporting the American Wildlife Refuge or Audubon NC with a donation.


Here’s a heartwarming recap of last year’s owls to get you emotionally attached to this live stream:



Trouble ITBirdwatching?

While it is 2018, and Elon Musk just sent a car to Mars or something, the camera will have technical difficulties from time to time. The camera can lose connectivity when:

  1. My friend is mowing his grass. He has to move the extension cords so he doesn’t mow over them.
  2. It rains really hard.
  3. My friend’s kids unplug the camera while he’s at work. We’re looking in to having ITBlake the intern babysit the kids to prevent this from happening.



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Webb Watch at The Masters 2018

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Hello best friends, welcome to the 2018 edition of Webb Watch at The Masters. We’ll be covering Broughton alumnus, and 2012 U.S. Open winner, Webb Simpson as he plays in his seventh Masters tournament. Unfortunately, we don’t have a live camera on him like the baby owl, but we’ll do our best to provide up to the second coverage. We would have sent ITBlake the intern to cover this, but he’s not good at social media and he’s currently in Cuba. (More on that later, if he comes back alive.)

Before we get started, I’d like to discuss a recent controversy that arose on Instagram.


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On Wednesday night I posted the following picture that I post before every big tournament that Webb plays in. He’s always getting a phone call, probably from Bonner trying to sell him Ray-Bans, and politely telling the caller that he will call them back because he has to go play in (insert tournament).

This morning, someone with nothing better to do with their life decided to chime in. They attempted to continue Webb’s conversation by saying: “I should be back home in Charlotte by noon on Saturday so let’s talk again then”. #GOHOKIES

Great joke, pal. (That’s a reference to when Webb joked “Enjoy the jail cell, pal” as his 2012 U.S. Open victory interview was interrupted by a Vince Vaughn look-alike who ran on the green to protest rainforest deforestation.)

To be clear, the implication in this Instagram comment is that Webb will not make the cut, thus making him available to talk on Saturday. I replied with “cool story, Hansel” a reference to the Oscar winning film Zoolander, and then went on with my day. The commenter then had the audacity to question my judgement because I went to Fyre Festival.

I have numerous issues with this interaction.

A.) If Webb missed the cut he wouldn’t be back in Charlotte on Saturday. He’d spend the rest of the weekend with friends and family in a cottage at the Masters eating $1.50 pimento cheese sandwiches.

2.) If you don’t like what I post, don’t follow me. My media empire is not a platform for your bad jokes or criticism. I’m fine with constructive criticism. For example, just this morning someone commented on this Dogs of ITB post and said the caption should have been “Raiders of the Lost Bark”. And they are totally right. I promise to do better in the future.

D.) Fyre Festival wasn’t cool. It was lit.

Earlier in my career I would have told this guy to go binge eat Tide Pods. But I can’t do that now or I’ll end up in the headlines. I have a baby owl and ITBlake (not my biological son) to think about and I can’t be that reckless. So the only thing I’ll say to this guy is, ITBless your heart. Now, on to the coverage.


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Webb Watch: The Masters 2018

Webb tees off at 12:54 PM on Thursday. He’ll be playing with Charl Schwartzel and Yuxin Lin. Here are some quick Webb Watch stats from the 10 events he’s played in 2018:

47th in the FedEx Cup rankings

40th in the World Golf rankings

Eternally 1st in the ITB rankings

3 top 10 finishes

5 top 25 finishes

6th best scoring average

3rd best sand save percentage

9th in approaches from 50-125 yards

1st in final round performance

1st in late scoring average


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Here are our current betting odds:

Webb 3/1

Tiger Woods 8/1

Everyone else 20/1

(All bets must be placed using ITBitcoin. Payouts not guaranteed.)

Stay tuned for more coverage throughout the day.


We also have some 2018 Masters facts from Wallet Hub because they e-mail me great #content that I can simply copy and paste. And they say journalism is dead.


Source: WalletHub
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