Jul 31, 2010

Welcome Back, Alcohol...and Chinese Food!

Earlier this month, B and I decided to have a no-drinking competition until August. For 3 weeks there would be no drinking at all -- not even on Fridays or Saturdays.  Guess who won?


It's true -- neither of us consumed any alcohol. Brandon was challenged with his little sister's 21st birthday and his cousin's birthday. He was offered shots left and right but turned down anything but water. I was challenged being on vacation with everyone else drinking around me. I turned down wine with dinner and Boston-brewed beer. I was certain that Brandon would crack and I would win just out of stubbornness, but it looks like we're both strong-willed. During the challenge, we made some observations.


  • I still remembered how to flirt. 
  • There were still injuries - bruised hand from volleyball and bruised knee from walking into my bed.
  • I weighed 109.6 lbs the first day of the challenge. I weighed 107.4 on the last day of the challenge. Not a big enough difference to be worth giving up alcohol. 
  • I really enjoy wine with certain foods. There were a couple times at dinner (with seafood in particular) that I would have liked a glass of wine. 
  • I say "Ugh, I need wine." way more than I actually need it. I could have just screamed really loudly instead.
  • I only noticed having more energy on the weekends, when I would typically drink more. Other than that, I didn't feel any different.
  • Conclusion: I'll keep drinking!
  • I felt like I took away from other people's fun to a degree. I still had fun, but I didn't party as hard. I was well-behaved the whole time and didn't make an ass of myself.
  • Without a doubt, I saved money. In 3 weeks I saved about $300.
  • I worked out more and I had a clearer view on life. I read my bible more. It was nice to see other people wasted and think, "Oh, is that how you are?"
  • Conclusion: I'm very glad I did it. It kind of made me want to grow up a little bit more. I'm not in college and don't want to party my balls off anymore. I'm still young and have time to, but it was really nice to wake up every morning for 3 weeks not having a hangover. I never had a wasted day that I sat around hungover. I was always ready to do something and that was nice. 
Our original plan was for the loser to take the winner out for an Italian dinner, but because we both won, we planned something totally different. We decided to try Red Orchids, a Chinese restaurant in West Ashley. I was told by several people that they offer fresh, high-quality meals at reasonable prices. The restaurant is located in a plaza with Big Lots and Burlington Coat Factory. Don't let this discourage you.

The inside of the restaurant is open with lots of red paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling. The owner and hostess were both very friendly. Upon seating we were immediately greeted by our server, Will. He was extremely helpful when we asked for recommendations. He was very happy to answer all of our questions and did a wonderful job explaining the different dishes, wines, and beers.

After seeing steamed buns on Jessica's blog, I knew I had to try them. I was so excited to see them on the menu.
The buns were exactly as I expected - very soft, chewy, and doughy. The pork filling had a sweet sauce that did not overpower the sticky bun. It was really fun to try something new.

Brandon chose pan-fried dumplings as our second appetizer.
We had the option of ordering steamed or pan-fried dumplings. Will told us that pan-fried only meant fried on one side for a little bit of extra crunch, so we couldn't resist. It was perfect. The sauce that accompanied the dumplings was slightly salty and sweet. They were filled with pork and vegetables. 

For entrees, we chose a fish and a chicken dish. Brandon was eager to try one of the house specials: "a pair of 18-22oz of crispy snapper fillet, gently glazed with Chinese sherry, cayenne, and marmalade sauce." Brandon said this dish was very fresh and flaky, however being deep fried with the skin on, every third bite was fishy. I thought the sauce was thick and flavorful and ended up drizzling it on my rice.

We also shared the Hunan Chicken: "sliced chicken stir-fried with mushrooms, peppers, bamboo shoots, and snow peas in Hunan sauce.' This dish wasn't bad, but was lacking complexity. We both agreed that we both enjoy foods with several dimensions. If you're looking for a mild chicken dish, this is for you. The Hunan chicken would be great for those less adventurous or those who can't handle much spiciness. 
Both entrees were served with our choice of white rice, fried rice, or brown rice (for $1 extra). We chose one side of brown rice and one side of fried rice. The fried rice was tasty! Overall, the menu had a lot to choose from. Being that both B and I are not fans of fried food, I think we chose items that weren't pleasing to our palettes. We both agreed that we'd go back to try different entrees. I'd love to try the lemon shrimp, honey-glazed walnut shrimp, or the garlic chicken.  

At dinner, we each had a Japanese beer: Asahi for Brandon, and Sapporo for me. Both were delicious. Brandon's Asahi was a bit sweeter. I figured I would be toasty-faced after this large beer, but somehow I wasn't! I did feel a bit dizzy after half a glass though. When we got home, we popped open a bottle of my favorite white wine: Elk Cove Pinot Gris. Here I am with my wine baby:
And just because I can, I had some red too!!!
Off I go to finish getting my wine on!!!

Thank you all for your encouraging words during this competition! A couple times when I really wanted to drink, I thought about your comments and knew I'd be able to make it. XO!!!

Red Orchid's China Bistro on Urbanspoon


  1. I love your dress with the twisty strap! Too cute :D

  2. Glad to hear the challenge went well! Love your dress - gorgeous! What a fun way to celebrate.

  3. Welcome back alcohol! Haha
    Good job giving it up though! Good to know you could do it!

  4. Yumm those steamed buns look good! And congrats on 3 weeks without alcohol! I bet you are happy to have that bottle of wine though :)

  5. Oh wow, I'm sure I'd be excited to welcome wine back into my life!

    And there's definitely something to be said about how much money you can save! By spending a weekend or two laying low, it's amazing the difference in my check account!

  6. I am not a drinker (well I am underage as well), but it was interesting to hear both of your thoughts on the little experiment--thanks for sharing! :-) Everything in moderation, right? :-)

  7. Haha cheers! I love getting my tipsy on. I'm not sure I could give it up for a month with the friends I have, haha! But kudos to you, seriously. I'm glad you're enjoying your wine again. I literally laughed out loud at your conclusion and "Ugh, I need wine."

    I LOVE spiciness in any food, so that dish probably would've been to mild for me as well. Looks tasty, thoguh! Enjoy your weekend girl!


  8. At least you got someting positive out of the test..that is good!

  9. Love the insightful comments ;) especially that you still know how to flirt!

  10. I am so glad you guys tried red orchid. It is one of our favorites date night places. Cheers to booze being back! Your observations were great!

  11. Your dress is so cute! I love it. Glad the celebration was fun. A $300 savings! Goodness! Its amazing how much men can take down ;) Happy weekend! Whats your favorite brunch place in Mt. P or Charleston (outside of my obsession obviously)? Let me know

  12. Woooo! Congrats to both of you for winning the challenge! It looks like you celebrated appropriately. :D

    I used to LOVE those steamed buns when I was little! One of my best friends was Chinese, and her mom would make them from scratch.

    I agree with Erica--your dress is adorable!

  13. Congrats on making it 3 weeks without booze! I hope you enjoyed that well deserved wine! :D I did a tasting at a winery this week and I totally forgot how much I love wine. I think I'm going to have to bring it back into my life!!

  14. I'm really impressed by your little alcohol experiment. Way to stick to your guns!

    All that food looks good, but I know what you mean about being too fried. Sometimes I make sure I don't order something that is too saucy either. It feels a little on the heavy side.

  15. I just have to say I love the phrase, "party my balls off." I'm glad to see you both made it three weeks!! Esp making it through a 21st birthday party.

    Those dumplings sound great!

  16. What a cool competition. Something like this would be SO HARD for me. Amazing job sticking it out. your reward dinner looks delicious.

  17. Ohmygosh, I totally want those dumplings in my stomach...now! Congrats on the no-drinking...don't know if I could do it!

  18. You both had some pretty neat conclusions! I've never been a drinker because I just don't like the taste, but often wish I did b/c it's such a social thing. And that meal looks like a real treat for the both of you!

  19. woo hoo, looks like it was a solid meal. glad you liked the buns :) i shouted out to you on my post with some buns too :)

  20. Amazing competition :)

    The dinner looks so good!

  21. Way to go!! Congrats to both of you for making it the entire three weeks! That's great! I'd be very happy to say hello to wine again though!! :) Looks like you guys had fun and your dress is so cute!

  22. I should try a no alcohol challenge too. It affect my CRAP eating post drunkedness too.

  23. I'm liking your blog more and more, and your sense of balance and adventure regarding food and nutrition. Congrats for making the entire three weeks...both of you! What a feat! And both of you learned so much! But I'm glad you're not giving them up entirely!

  24. Love the conclusions and the one where you said you could still flirt!! lol! so cute!!

    Yay for you both being alcohol free for 3 weeks!!!

    Love how you celebrated and love two glasses of wine, you have to have red and white!! yum!

    Love you!!!

  25. Go big or go home..a glass of red and a glass of white! Love that. Great job on weighing the pros and cons of drinking. I'm so glad you didn't "forget" how to flirt!

  26. I love how you are cuddling with the bottle of wine! So cute! I think its great to test your will power every once in a while. It makes you realize how strong we can be when we put our minds to something! :)

  27. That's awesome. Part of my junior year of college I decided to not have any alcohol (I did some crazy diet that didn't allow) and was pretty miserable that time around. Now that I am now in school and drink in moderation, I think I could do it... but sometimes a glass of wine really does sound great. My husband would have a way harder time with it. I wonder if I could talk him into something like that ;) Sounds like you both learned a lot from the experience. :)

  28. Yeah, I know what you mean about the alcohol...but now during the summer, coming home to a cold one and sitting on the deck - the best thing ever!

    Love the vibrancy of your blog BTW - the colors and pictures! :)

  29. Congrats on both of you completing the challenge successfully...and learning so much from it!

  30. Brandon saved THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS in three weeks! Holy BALLS Batman! Relax, Sheanna, relax...Remember that neither one of these people has children....THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS?!? SERIOUSLY?!? JESUS! DO YOU KNOW WHAT SOME PEOPLE CAN DO WITH THAT MONEY?!? Holy crap...CHARITY, dude! Save for something! I've gotta go...My brain is leaking out of my ears.

    PS - I loooooove Red Orchid. That was one of the first places I ate when I moved here 4 years ago. Good stuff. You need to try Glass Onion if you haven't. It's also in West Ashley. It's up your alley.

  31. that dress is fab! and no alcohol??? i couldn't've (do double contractions exist?) dealt.

  32. Congrats on going without alcohol for threeee weeeeeks!! You're amazing!

    And that dress is hot. ;)

  33. what a great challenge! Seems like you both learned a lot lol.

    I have always wanted to try making steamed pork buns! They look stellar!

  34. Congrats on making it 3 weeks without alcohol! It's tough the first week, or two, but in the end, don't you realize that you feel so much better- so much better.
    I went 52 days without alcohol and felt amazing... but I really enjoy wine... sooooo...

  35. okay, steamed buns and dumplings have my name written all over it! that all sounds divine!

    welcome back to the drinking world, girlfriend! tequila and beer have missed you much.

    nowwww, how in the world do i get my own domain via blogger? i love blogger because of the google friendliness as well. google is my homeboy!

  36. Girl, you're awesome! I'm glad you did the challenge- if nothing else to see what its like without alcohol and to find out what alcohol means to you.

    I LOVE me some red wine, but (sadly) won't be drinking until November after my first bikini competition. This is my first go-around and I just want to dedicate myself entirely to my diet and w/o plan and (unfortunately) alcohol isn't on the "plan" :( BUT, thank the Lord I found a competition BEFORE Thanksgiving and Christmas, because I'll probably have a glass of Merlot in my hand at all times during the holidays! *Hey, I gotta spread that Christmas cheer!*

  37. you two are so cute... I love the outcomes each of you had... I have done similar - and have felt increased energy, money savings, and perspective - I LOVE Brandon's view of seeing people 'drunk'... wow. It's definitely different to be the non drinker in a group of drinkers.


    I had a Very Bad Day - so as I type this I am enjoying a vodka soda. :)

  38. You did itttttttt!! Me too. I'm three weeks strong! But I've been on my vicodin so it might not count..

  39. 3 weeks--wow! I couldn't do that--well I could....but....

    On a similar note, I have a friend that gives up drinking for Lent each year as well.

    And those little dumplings look fantastic!

  40. Partying my balls off and steamed buns.Hehehehehe.

    Glad you had a good experiment with it but I am with you, not a significant amount enough to make stop drinking. Bring on the booze!

  41. HAHAHA what a boy: "party my balls off"

    What a wonderful way to reward yourself! Isn't it impressive how a few weeks/weekends can slim down your wallet and waisteline? A few hundred bucks sure is something!

    Congrats :)

  42. Congratulations! I know how hard it must've been. I once tried giving up alcohol for a month - I succeeded but never did it again hehe ;)

  43. Woohoo, for having it back in your life! I am impressed that you both found the positive in giving something up. Looks like a great celebration after the competition! Now I need some steamed buns!

  44. Congrats! I loved reading your reflections! I'm all for your challenge (which I did earlier this summer) but I definitely agree that it doesn't have to be a long term thing haha : ) I chuckled when I read that you still got injured ; )

  45. Just ωаs broωsіng web 2.0 site when Ι fοunԁ
    your sit, anԁ I want to sаy your blog templatе is νery nicе.
    Hοw long havе уou beеn гunning thіs blog?

    Тhe way you do all οf this mаkes it look like а ρіece of cake.
    Your ρаge is beаutіful, and also offеrs
    an abundаnce of quаlity content.

    Alѕo visit my ωеblοg ... facebooks.lv