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About Us

Meet the Leisure-ist

Mike Macdonald/Publisher

Favorite Netflix show: I don’t have the attention span to devote to a full series, so I just pick and choose amongst past favorites based on mood. Most common choice these days is Scrubs (why that show isn’t syndicated everywhere is beyond me), followed by The Office, Cheers, and Frasier.
Drink you have after a rough day: I start with a few sips of Deleon Platinum—just to cleanse the palate—so I can properly drink my Corralejo margarita (Which is usually followed by a short glass of either Patron Reposado or Don Julio. You know… to enhance the taste of the margarita).
Favorite vacation spot: The deck of a cruise ship chugging through the Caribbean. Wherever we stop works for me.
Place you need to visit next: Don’t know if it’ll be next, but gotta hit Fiji at some point. Oh, and I need to bring my mom and family to Italy soon.
Worst food of all time: I would say Olive Garden, but since what they serve isn’t actually food, I’ll go with Goober Grape. My wife grew up with that crap because it was easier to take a jar when they went boating. Why does it even exist?! Seriously, people, is it that friggin’ hard to stick a knife in two jars?!

Brian Ledtke/Associate editor

Favorite Netflix show: Parks and Recreation, though I’m also way too in love with Lost.
Drink you have after a rough day: Hendricks Gin and tonic, or a bottle of wine. Or both. Depends on the day.
Favorite vacation spot: Thailand, or anywhere with a beach, hammock and an adult beverage.
Place you need to visit next: Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Iceland, Norway…I could go on and on if you’d like.
Worst food of all time: Vegetables. Is there anything that ruins a delicious meal more than a big pile of smelly veggies waiting on your plate?



William C. Nelson/Smoking editor

Favorite Netflix show: Don’t use Netflix.
Drink you have after a rough day: Same drink I have after a good day — Scotch on the rocks (Favorites are Dalwhinnie and Johnny Walker Black).
Favorite vacation spot: Storm chasing on the high plains.
Place you need to visit next: New England, on business.
Worst food of all time: Beef liver.



Kathryn Kyle/Marketing director

Favorite Netflix show: Peaky Blinders
Drink you have after a rough day: Moscow Mule
Favorite vacation spot: Outer Banks, NC
Place you need to visit next: Cuba
Worst food of all time: Haggis




Alex Sampedro/Account manager

Favorite Netflix show: Arrested Development
Drink you have after a rough day: Protein shake
Favorite vacation Spot: Cuba
Worst food of all time: Pickles




Connor Sears/Contributing editor

Favorite Netflix show: Daredevil if we’re talking Netflix exclusives—their Kingpin is probably one of my favorite villains anywhere—though my to-watch list is about a mile long. If we’re counting all shows on Netflix, regardless of origin, I have memorized more Futurama than is probably appropriate.
Drink you have after a rough day: Midrange brown ale if it’s on my dime. Gin and tonic if it’s on someone else’s.
Favorite vacation spot: Washington, D.C. Few things are kinder on the wallet than federally funded museums.
Place you need to visit next: Domestically, I’ve never spent time in Boston, and a return to Chicago is always on my list. Internationally, it might be a tie between Greece and the UAE.
Worst food of all time: During my stay in Qatar—which, by the way, provided an excellent food experience all told—I went to a to-do put on by the tourism board out in the desert. While the event was still getting started, a few traditional dishes were passed around for nibbling. One of these dishes featured the taste and consistency, to my untrained palate, of milk well past its best-by date. Maybe that’s how that dish is supposed to taste. Maybe it had been sitting in the desert sun for too long. Frankly, I don’t care which it was. It didn’t sit well with me either way.

Stephanie Banfield/Contributing editor

Favorite Netflix show: For Netflix, I’ve got to go with binge-watching past seasons of Shameless (because I’ve got a girl crush on Fiona, and who doesn’t love a hammered Frank Gallagher?) and Chelsea with Chelsea Handler. But, like any impoverished journalism major, I also share Hulu, HBO Go and cable accounts with friends and family—so I can’t leave out some other favorites, like Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Nashville and a slew of Bravo shows I’m (semi) embarrassed to admit I can’t stop watching.
Drink you have after a rough day: It really depends on my mood—and how “rough” the day was. I don’t think I’ve ever met a cocktail I didn’t like, but my faves are a solid, strong margarita on the rocks or essentially anything citrusy made with rum. I’m also a bit of a craft beer snob with an affinity for everything from wheat ales and IPAs to kolches and hefeweizens. As long as it’s made by an independent craft brewery—especially if it’s local—I’m on board!
Favorite vacation spot: My backyard. No, for real: my backyard. I grew up spending two days in the car driving from Iowa to North Carolina to vacation on the Outer Banks every summer with my family, and in 2013 I moved to Raleigh to be closer to the beach. Turns out the City of Oaks wasn’t quite close enough. In late 2015 I moved from Raleigh to the OBX to live on the barrier islands. I’m stoked to say I’m no longer landlocked and can now see (and hear!) the ocean from my house in Kitty Hawk.
Place you need to visit next: I’ve been to most states in the continental U.S., but one I haven’t made it to yet that I’d love to visit is Oregon—I hear they’ve got an awesome coastline and some great breweries. And although I’ve visited Florida several times, I’m hoping to take a trip this year to visit the Florida Keys for the first time—beaches and booze, what’s not to love with that combo? Outside the U.S., I’d go for Australia, New Zealand, Cape Town or anywhere in the Caribbean. Anyone seeing a theme here?  
Worst food of all time: Hands down, sloppy Joes, despite the fact that this disgusting dish apparently originated in my Iowa homeland. There’s just something so unimaginative about piling flavorless, loose ground beef on a bun. The fact that we were also forced to eat these monstrosities like once a week throughout elementary school also ruined any hope of me actually enjoying the concoction. Also, coconut. As someone who lives at the beach I should probably find coconut extremely appealing, but I feel exactly the opposite. My parents—who were well aware of my distaste for this chewy, flaky nastiness—once tricked me into devouring a mouthful of chocolate-covered coconut by telling me the treat they were handing me during a childhood road trip out West was, in fact, a Ding Dong. It’s been 22 years and I still haven’t forgiven them.