Monday, February 28, 2011

The weekend with "no plans"

My weekend started out 100% void of plans.  I was excited.  I had time to clean, do some laundry and catch up on some TV programs that I've been trying to get into.  By noon on Saturday my plans were foiled.

Saturday I attended my second Oysterfest.  And for those keeping track, it was my 3rd festival in 3 weeks. Hurray for nice weather!  This Oysterfest was held at Steamhouse Lounge, an actual seafood place, and was HUGE.  I'd guess 4 to 5 times larger than the one at Park Tavern two weeks ago.  I went with a pretty big group of friends, ran into another group and had a blast.  And this time I even ate some oysters.  Saturday night I was in bed by 9:30.  Nine hours of drinking will put you right to sleep.

As you can tell from the pictures, it was another glorious spring day in Atlanta.

Sunday I spent with my favorite family with a 7-month-old.  Because it was still so nice outside, it was perfect to take the wee one to the park for the first time.  Now she's been to the park with her nanny, but it was the first time Whit and I got to take her.  She LOVED the swing and looking at all of the other babies.  The slide with mom wasn't her favorite until she got to the bottom of the slide and taking pictures with Aunt Katie was exactly opposite of what she wanted to do.  

As soon as the two of us sat down to take a picture, the shoes went in the mouth.  This was the only time all day that the shoes went in the mouth.  Just for pictures with me.  I'll save you from the 10+ pictures that we took trying to get a good one, here is a pretty good sample of what they look like.  

All of the nice weather is coming to an end.  We should have some pretty severe storms coming in today. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Spoon Westside

Last night I used yet another ScoutMob coupon and tried out a Thai restaurant, Spoon, on the Westside of town.  I'm not a fan of spicy food.  At all.  So my choice are limited at any Thai place, but it allows me to compare the different Thai places I've visited because I only get Pad Thai.

Spoon is in the Top Two!  My all time favorite Thai place is in NYC, Thai Select.  My sister and NY co-workers all LOVE it there and I feel the same way.  I try to go every time I'm in the city.  Spoon came in as a very close second.  The food was wonderful and the wine was great.  I had shrimp pad thai.  I forgot to take a picture, sorry!

I highly recommend Spoon to anyone looking for great Thai food.  There are two locations in town so you're never too far if you're ITP.

The weekend is finally here.  It's going to be a much quieter weekend than it was last weekend, so I'll have to be creative in my "new things" for the next two days.  One week until DC!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I got myself a Kindle!

I've struggled for months with the decision to buy a Kindle.  I LOVE to read and I understand how expensive my book buying habit has become.  The problem is that I love building my library at home and I love the smell and feel of a good book.  While I read the book I like to see my progress.  For those reasons I've been 100% against a Kindle from the beginning.

Then the price started to drop.  I saw how cheap some of the books on the Kindle really can be.  The classics are all downloadable for free.  A book I want is $15 but the Kindle version is $9.  And after a lunch conversation yesterday with one of my co-workers who reads more than I do, books and with the Kindle, I decided that now was my chance to get one for myself.  Just because I have a Kindle doesn't mean that I can't still buy those really good books that I'm going to want to share or reread in a few years because I love them so much.  I can read both.

My new friend will arrive on Monday.  I can't wait.  It's just in time for my trip to DC!  No heavy book to take with me, Kindle it is!  There is also a Kindle App for the iphone and it will talk to my Kindle so I can read from my phone what I'm reading from the Kindle, and it will even know what page I'm on!  Game on.

Are there any books I should download right away?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

It's a secret

I hate to say it, but my new thing of the day yesterday will be kept to myself.  I know that's the opposite of what this blog is about, but some things are best kept close to your heart.

I promise, it was new, it was fun and one day I'll do it again.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Blue Valentine

Blue Valentine is easily my pick for best movie of the year.  I'll admit that I haven't seen Social Network which is thought to be the obvious winner, but I can't imagine that it is any more well acted or moving as Blue Valentine.  I think being NC-17 is what is ultimately going to hurt its chances.  (It was my first NC-17 movie!)

Ryan Gosling is unbelievable in his range of emotions and I forgot how great of an actress Michelle Williams is.  I realized at one point in the movie that I hadn't seen her since the Dawson Creek days.  Their relationship on screen was 100% authentic.  It was so believable at times it was very difficult to watch as they fell apart.

The sexual scenes were graphic, which gave it the NC-17 rating, but nothing seemed too over the top or too graphic.  The scenes fit perfectly with the story and, in my opinion, nothing seemed to go beyond what hasn't been seen before.  I can't believe that a movie as honest as Blue Valentine is handed a NC-17 rating and there are 5+ Saw movies that show God knows what on screen, I won't watch those.

Blue Valentine for Movie of the Year and Ryan and Michelle deserve them as well.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Winter Beer Carnival weekend

What a fantastic weekend.  So much time with friends and so much laughter, I couldn't have asked for a better couple of days.  The weather was absolutely perfect, which added to everyone's excitement.

Friday night I met a new friend with two of my best friends at Cypress Street Pint and Plate.  The bar is only 3 blocks from my house.  It was my first time since moving to Atlanta that I was able to walk to a bar and not worry about having to drive home later.  As we were walking one of my friends even said, "it feels like we're in a different city!"  Welcome to Midtown ladies, I'm as excited as you are.  This weekend was my first full weekend really getting to enjoy being in town.  I have a feeling I'll be spending a lot of time at Cypress.  I plan to go to the bar one night, alone.  I've definitely never done that before.

Saturday morning I woke to 72 degrees and not a cloud in the sky.  My neighbor and I grilled in the back yard and then friends came over to join us for the Winter Beer Carnival.  Not exactly the weather they expected for a winter beer carnival, but it couldn't have been better.

There were 100+ beers to taste at the event.  Everyone got little glasses and all the beer was free to taste.

Who would guess it was the middle of February!

The crew

Beers I tasted:
Magic Hat Winter
Magic Hat Pale Ale
Red Hook Mud Slinger
Lagunitas Pilsner
Dogfishhead 60 min IPA
Bells Best Brown Ale
Southhamption Double White
Peak Organic Spring
Rogue Mocha Porter
Leffe Blonde
Shock Top Belgian White
Holy Mackerel - two types, forget what they were
Woodchuck 802
Abita Amber
Abita Dark something?

That's right - 17 beers  My fave had to be the Double White.  I didn't care too much for the Organic.  Towards the end, everything tasted wonderful.

Sunday night I started watching Season 1 of Mad Men.  I work in advertising, you would think I'd have been watching this show from the beginning, not the case.  I'll let you know how I feel about it after season 1.  So far, so good, three episodes in. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

And the winner is....

Last night was the Atlanta Ad Club's ADDY Awards. The awards recognize creative excellence in advertising.  I'm in the media department, so none of my actual work was up for awards, but projects I negotiated were nominated.  I've only been at my new agency for 7 months, so it was a lot of USMC work that I was hoping would win - and they did!  The USMC team won two Golds and two Bronze awards.  I was so proud of them.  I know how much hard work went into the projects. 

My current agency definitely didn't go home empty handed.  We won the following awards:

Cheerwine “Forest Dance Off” won a gold in TV
Cheerwine “Chillest Ride won a gold for vehicle graphics
Cheerwine “Chillest Ride” won a silver for sweepstakes
Cheerwine “Long live leisure” won a silver for illustration
Food Lion “Neighborly Practice/ACC” won a bronze for TV
Georgia Aquarium “Belugas” won a bronze for TV
Vortex print won a bronze for newspaper ads
Vortex print won another bronze for newspaper ads

NICE WORK!!  It was my first time attending the awards and it was totally different than I thought it would be.  The event was held at the 755 Club at Turner Field with plenty of open bars.  About 1/3 of the way through the awards presentation the emcee had lost control of the room and most people were just walking around talking and drinking.  Fine with me!  

Check out Turner Field completely empty at night

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Turning back time

The Drive-in.  It reminds me of simpler times.  Of packing friends into a car and catching the latest flick.  It reminds me of the movie Grease.  The song Stranded at the Drive-in.  I'm not sure about you, but it just makes me feel happy.

I'd heard that Atlanta still has one drive-in left, but I didn't realize how close it is to my apartment.  I called one of my friends to see what she was up to and she was heading to catch a movie, any movie, at the Starlight Six drive-in and asked if I wanted to join.  HECK YES!  They have movies around 8:30 and 10:00.

The movie, The Green Hornet, was 100% horrible but we had a blast.  We brought a bottle of wine and some homemade cookies for our snacks.  The show was so bad that by the end of it we were talking and not even watching the movie.  I give it an F.

I've now found my I-don't-know-what-to-do-tonight outing.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

You CAN get something for $1!

Last night was ladies night with three of my favorite ladies on the planet.  We used to see each other everyday at work but so much has changed in the past 7 months we now have to plan fun dinners to see each other.  We chose Buckhead Bottle Bar as our restaurant last night and we were definitely not disappointed. 

The restaurant itself is very unique. White tulips hanging from the ceiling provide the lighting, the tables are large wooden blocks and one wall is a long, green wall of padding.  Sounds odd, but it sets a very fun mood.  We picked BBB because they have a coupon on ScoutMob (I told you I was a fan) and that was just the beginning. 

When we first arrived we were one of the only tables in the restaurant.  By the time we left at 8:00 it had filled up and the bar was filling out as well.  But it never felt crowded.  Our waiter let us know for happy hour all sliders are $1 and all of the personal pizzas are $1.  WHAT!?!  That’s amazing.  NOTHING in Atlanta is a $1.  Parking outside the building is $2 for an hour, and the machine only takes quarters.  (That’s could be a blog post on it’s own. Who has 8+ quarters in their car to enjoy a nice meal with friends??) We quickly ordered two of each slider, beef, veggie, shrimp and tuna, and two pizzas with our drink orders.  Each was surprisingly delicious.  The pizza was not your typical pizza, the dough was grilled before the toppings added and it was cooked just to the right crispiness.  The sliders were the perfect dish to share among friends – and did I mention they were a dollar!  Each slider was cooked perfectly.

Our final bill with 10 sliders, 2 pizzas and 4 glasses of wine and 4 cocktails was $77 and then we took another $15 off with our Scoutmob coupon.  We all ate and drank for 2 hours for under $20.  That’s unheard of.  We tipped our waiter really well and said our good byes. 

I was pleasantly surprised with what Buckhead Bottle Bar had to offer – I would highly recommend it to friends, especially those looking for a fun happy hour with good bar food.  ONE DOLLAR! 

static3.jpg (picture from BBB's website - and that's actually the table we sat at lat night)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Back to Normal

After three days of not being able to eat anything (what a nightmare) last night I was finally back to normal.  I went to Publix to stalk up on food and found the following frozen dinner.  Now eggplant parm is only recently in my consideration set for dinners.  It started when my sister played vegetarian for a year and I was supportive when I was with her.  It has become one of my favorite meals.  

It wasn't bad!  Jackpot!  I also baked myself some cookies last night because it was Valentine's Day and I didn't have a valentine, so I was my own.  

Monday, February 14, 2011

60 degrees and sunny

Saturday was the unofficial start to festival season in Atlanta.  The temperature is starting to warm up, the flowers are about to start blooming and it's almost that time for sundresses and flip flops.  I've said it before, but Spring time is my favorite time of the year in Atlanta.  The tulips bloom, the weather isn't too hot and there is always something going on outdoors.

We hit up Oysterfest at Park Tavern this Saturday.  It was the perfect day.  Just look at the view!

We drank mojitos and people watched for a few hours before walking back to my place.  That's right, I can WALK to Piedmont Park.  So awesome.  

Sadly I had started to feel sick the day before so our Oysterfest time was cut short.  And that was basically the end to my fun weekend I had planned.  I had to cancel two dinners and a brunch this weekend because I wasn't feeling well. BOO

Being sick, I watched a ton of movies this weekend:

Going the Distance - B - lots of cheese, but I love Drew and Christina 
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - B - not nearly as good as the first one

Clearing out room on the Netflix queue for Mad Men Season 1

Friday, February 11, 2011

Meatloaf and my new love

Last night I made my first big meal in the apartment and it was a brand new recipe.  Mini Meatloafs!  I’ve made meatloaf many, many times before, but they have always been the full, loaf sized ones like my mom taught me to make.  For my trial run I had my friend, Nicole, come over for dinner so I wouldn’t have a ton of leftovers.  And admit it, it’s much better to cook for 2+ people than just yourself. 

Along with the meatloaf I served asparagus and rosemary roasted potatoes.  So yummy.  The potatoes were a little crispy, but still good and the meatloaf had to cook extra 10 minuets, but in the end we each cleaned our plates.  We chatted and watched TV all evening.  It was the perfect evening after a very stressful day at the office.  

This morning we got the following email:  "Bagels. Fresh. Kitchen. Go." We were lucky nobody was trampled on the way to the kitchen.  Food goes fast around here.  Now bagels are nothing new to me, but the cream cheese selection today was a choice of one: Garden Veggies.  I was hesitant at first but you legally can't have a bagel without cream cheese so I dug in.  OMG - why have I never had it before?!?  I'm in love.  Thank you random rep for bringing in the food, the first 12 people into the kitchen thank you. 

I've made it 11 days with new things every day.  I have a busy weekend ahead of me.  Monday's post will be a long one. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It's Ladies night and the feelings right!

The first night of Bunco!!!  Dice, wine (a lot of wine), crazy fun ladies and girl talk.  What more can you ask for on a Wednesday night?

My mom has played Bunco my entire life with basically the same core group of women.   The Bunco ladies came to the house once a month and I’d try to hide or I’d get to play at a friend’s house that evening.  It was always crazy stressful for my mom, and us kids, because the house had to be spotless!  For that reason I hated Bunco.  The women would ooh and ahh over me and my sister and want to hear all about school and sports.  I just wanted to watch TV, which was off limits on Bunco nights.  Then I was allowed to sub a few times in high school and realized how much fun women can have just talking to each other and laughing.

Last night was the first Bunco night with a group of ladies my age.  It was fantastic.  I knew about half of them from so there was a built in comfort level.  As the wine bottles were emptied, of course we were more and more comfortable with each other.  There are a lot of crazy women out there, and I’m sure I can be included in that group from time to time, but we found 12 ladies who all get along and enjoy each others company.  It was only night number one, but I hope we’re able to continue for months and years to come.

What happens at Bunco stays at Bunco, so I’ll never disclose actual discussions – but some topics were borderline gross.  Whoever says that it’s only boys who discuss gross things have never hung out with a group of ladies and a couple bottles of wine.

I’m hosting Bunco at my apartment in April.  My tiny, one-bedroom apartment will host 12 women.  I’m not sure where we will all fit with our tables, but that will only add to the fun.  More to come on that later. 

Only one wine glass broke last night.  It was worse to see the wine go to waste then to lose the glass.  

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Which one is the Turkey Burger?

For lunch yesterday my friend/co-worker and I decided to use ScoutMob to find a new place to eat lunch near our office.  (If you don’t use ScoutMob, you’re crazy).  She is supportive of my decision to try new things everyday and she’s joining in when she can.  We decided on Buns & Shakes on Auburn Ave in Downtown.  It was a quick, entertaining walk from the office.  Let’s just say that it wasn’t the normal neighborhood that I walk through everyday.  Or have ever before.  We were met by several people who know the streets much better than the two of us.  One was even talking to the buildings as he walked.

We were one of 3 tables in the entire place and it sounded like everyone in there was using the ScoutMob discount.  I’m not quite sure how it will survive when the deal expires in a few days. 

The decor of the one-room restaurant leaves a lot to be desired.  I’m not a complete restaurant snob, I enjoy good food and I’ll go where they serve it.  But this place was a mess.  The chairs were lumpy, the “booths” were actual pillow cushions nailed to wooden beams and all of the tables were falling apart.  I wouldn’t’ even hang my jacket on the back of the chair.  No soda machine (even my office has one!), the kitchen looked dirty and I didn’t even venture into the bathrooms.

The menu has exactly what it claims to have in the name of the restaurant – Buns: round, long, flat and a variety of shakes.  My friend ordered the Turkey Burger and I ordered a 6 oz burger, each with sweet potato fries.  When they came out, we couldn’t tell which was which.  I ended up eating the Turkey Burger.  Awesome.  It was good, but nothing special.  Our total bill was $20 (pretty steep for 2 burgers and fries!) but thank goodness we had 50% off the bill. 

Turkey burger?  yes

Needless to say, I won’t be going back.  Check that one off the list!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Does that look level to you???

Last night my New Thing of the day was to cook in my apartment for the first time.  Yes, I've lived there 2 weeks, but I was out of town for 5 days, give me a break!

I went fancy - mac n cheese out of the box.  Not quite the first meal in the new apartment that I planned to make, but I was lazy.  When I was boiling the water it was blatantly obvious that the stove tips back to the wall.  What do I do with that??  I emailed my landlord to see if he can come in and fix it.  Baking won't be pretty if every liquid slides to one side.  Awesome.

Skiing Pictures

I didn't have my pictures ready to go yesterday....but I'm ready now!

 When we arrived we were greeted by a family of deer.  Apparently the people who live in the condos year-round feed the deer so they walk right up to the porches.

This is the view from the back of the condo... so peaceful and breathtaking at the same time.

Day one we went out to rent all of our equipment and took Whitney's baby, Peyton - she was a puffball of pink!

The slopes were soo empty, which was awesome.

I was skiing and had to stop to take a picture, I was the only one on the hill.

Sunset over the mountains

Saturday night when the weather was bad.  Check out the view behind us, you should be able to see the mountains... no luck.  Me and Joe, Whitney's hubby.

Same view from the back of the condo, but you can't see anything!  

Monday, February 7, 2011

Learning to Ski

New Thing #2: Ski trip at Snowshoe Mountain Ski Resort in West Virginia:  Feb 2 –Feb 6

I’d never been skiing before.  I was terrified of hurting myself and failing.  I also always thought I’d want to go out west for my first trip, but the trip to Snowshoe was AMAZING!  I was on a family trip with another family.  The trip included one of my best friends, Whitney, her husband and seven-month old, Peyton, Whitney’s parents and Joe’s parents. 

Day 1: The Drive
We loaded up the Tahoe from Whitney’s house, 5 adults and a 7-month old, and we took off for Snowshoe Mountain, an 9 hour drive.  Three hours in we had changed three poopy diapers.  But look at his face, how can any drive be bad when you have her sitting next to you?  The drive definitely took longer than it should have. 

40 miles from the resort Garmin told us to take a right on what will now be called Brokeback Mountain Road.  It was a one-car width wide, long and windy road through the middle of nowhere.  It added 40 minutes to our drive, but the Punkin slept and the rest of us just laughed at our detour.  Thank goodness, it could have been bad if anyone had been grumpy pants.  Another bonus – nobody got car sick!  (The curvy, up and down, side to side motion of the roads got me going home - I had to eat potato chips the entire 2 hours we were in the mountains so I didn't get sick.  I've NEVER felt car sick before.  We don't have mountain roads in Florida)

The condo was a 3-bedroom, 2 bath condo looking out to the mountains on one side and the resort on the other.  It was tiny after day 3 and every floor board creaked, especially at 2am, 3am and 4am when someone would get up to go to the bathroom and slam the door.  I slept in the living room, I heard everything.

Once we got in the wind really picked up and it began to snow.  We rented our skis, scheduled my lesson for the morning and went to dinner – at 4:30pm.  It felt like 7:30 to us and we didn’t want to walk around in the 4 degree weather anymore so dinner at 4:30 it was. 

Day Two: Leaning to ski
My 9:00 am ski lesson began right on time on Silver Creek Mountain, next to Snowshoe.  My instructor is Marc, he’s awesome.  (Side note:  When I learned to surf in May my instructor was a Marc.  He taught me to surf so I was fully confident cold-weather Mark could get me to ski.)  The lesson was just under 2 hours and 30 minutes into the lesson I was going down my first hill.  SUCCESS!  The rest of the day was spent on the slopes getting used to the speed of the hills.  After a few nice falls on a blue run that I was tricked into going down I decided to call it a day, hit the bar and sign up for my free lesson the next day.  I skied for almost 6 hours.  My body hasn’t hurt that bad in years. 

Day 3:  Solo skiing
Back to the slopes by 10am and I was out until 4:00.  Because the rest of the group I was with skis double blacks, I was on my own on the greens.  I actually think it was a good thing – I got to ski at my own pace and get comfortable on different runs.  I had a blast.  I can’t wait to ski again.  And yes, I took a couple pretty big spills.  Mostly when I was pushing myself out of my comfort zone - but that's the only way you can get better at anything.  I have a beautiful yellow, green, purple and black bruise on the inside of my left knee.  

The best part of Snowshoe is that it is a weekend destination and we were skiing during the week.  The slopes were basically empty.  It was amazing.  And I also fully recommend Silver Creek and Snowshoe to beginners.  It was perfect.  And the expert skiers had a blast too.

Day 4: Is there a mountain out there?
The weather was so bad on Saturday that we didn’t really do much outdoors.  We couldn’t even see the other side of our parking lot.  I have no idea how people were skiing and snowboarding that day – they’re nuts.  Basically it was an excuse for us to get drunk together.   Until Saturday we hadn’t really spent anytime at the bars together, sort of disappointing to me, the only single person on the trip.  So Saturday I got everyone going!  We started bar hopping, or as we called it har bopping, around the mountain.  It was such a fun afternoon/evening.  When we got back to the condo we ordered pizza and my ski instructor was the delivery guy!  Now we know what you have to do to survive working as an instructor in WV – deliver pizzas at night, too.  I’m sure he has a few other jobs as well.  We were trashed and tipped him pretty well. 

The drive home on Sunday wasn’t too bad.  It felt really long since we were all awake the entire time.  We got home just in time for the Super Bowl!

More pictures to come...  

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Well, here goes nothing!

Today begins my journey to try to do one new thing each day for a full year.  

Today's New Thing: Starting a blog.  

A bunch of my friends have blogs, some that I read each day hoping for an update, and it's time for me to give it a shot.  Kristin has her blog that she started when she was planning her wedding so people would stop asking her wedding detail questions (my favorite:, Jenn has her photography blog (if you need a photographer – you can’t go wrong with Jenn Hopkins Photography, she’s extraordinary: and another friend writes about her life with triplets.

I need this blog to keep myself accountable.  If had a goal and nobody knew about it to kept me honest, I know I’d never finish. It’s like going to the gym, I like to go, I really do, but if nobody knows I didn’t go one evening, I don’t feel bad talking myself out of it.  This is my way of letting people (a person maybe?) know what I’m doing and that I’m keeping myself on track. 

I’ll also be looking for ideas from anyone out there who is following along.  I have my first week of New Things lined up, but from there, I’m going to have to seriously start planning and doing some research.  Some days are going to be long hours at work, others will be rainy Saturday afternoons at home, but I will still need something new to try. 

I might as well put it out there now, but some Things may take longer than a day.  For example a trip to a new city or reading a book by an author I never thought I’d read.  Those ideas are okay.  Not everything can be completed in one day.  If I don’t update everyday, I’m okay with that as long as I wasn’t skipping days with nothing in progress. 

Her are the ideas I have so far.  Not sure when each of them will happen, but I can already tell I need to have a list of ideas to reference when the times get tough. 
·      Learn to ski
·      Vacation with my sisters, without parents!
·      Walk to work
·      Take public transportation to work
·      Take a sewing class
·      Take a cooking class
·      Cook a turkey
·      Get waxed, yes that kind of waxed (very nervous about this one!)
·   Take a weekend trip by myself

I’ll also try to visit new restaurants, bars and parts of town.  Atlanta is so big, I feel like I’ve only touched the surface of what the city has to offer and I’ve been here 7 years.

So, today’s task is complete.  I’ve set up a blog and written my first official blog post.  It feels pretty good.  I’m sure I’ll get more creative with this as time goes on.  Stay tuned!