Monday, June 27, 2011

Your Dekalb Farmers Market

Before I get into the Farmers Market discussion, I want to wish everyone a very Happy Half Christmas.  Saturday was June 25, Half Christmas, so some of Stephen's friends threw a party to celebrate.  (Any excuse for a party is a good excuse!)  This wasn't just a "come over and drink some beer party" they wen't ALL OUT.  Front yard decorations, three fully decorated trees in the house, White Elephant game, Christmas music, Christmas cookies and Christmas sweaters.

This picture might just end up being our Christmas card photo this year (if we decided to send them out).  How funny!!  Yes, I know what you're thinking, we were HOT.  It was 90 degrees outside, so I'm wearing shorts.  

If you're a reader of the blog (thank you!!) you know that I love to cook and Stephen loves it as much or maybe more than I do. We love fresh ingredients and hate boxed foods.  Put on top of that our desire to get in shape and run more, we need to eat healthy.  Stephen came up with the idea to start planning our meals out for the week (which I love to do and do as much as I possibly can already) and then hit up the Dekalb Farmers Market for all of our produce items.  Sounds good, right?  

I've been to a Farmers Market, remember the Piedmont Park Farmers market on Saturdays, so I was expecting the Dekalb market to be similar.  Holy cow was I wrong.  The Dekalb market is huge and located in a giant, permanent warehouse.  The selection inside was mind blowing.  We were like little kids walking around looking at stuff.  There were so many items that I'd never even seen before - I can't wait to go back.  The wall of flours was one of my favorite stops - every type of flour you could imagine, and then more! We bought stuff for salads for the week - romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, feta cheese - and a few other fun items - organic flour, spices, bananas - all for $25.  Unreal.  The spices alone were worth the trip.  When we got home we made 4 giant salads for lunches this week. (I'm traveling tomorrow so I won't need one and we both have off work on Friday so we didn't need more than we made.)

This weekend being a holiday weekend we'll probably skip the big trip but we'll start soon.  I'll keep you posted.  To make it more fun and to learn more about cooking, I want to pick up a new ingredient each week that neither of us have ever cooked with before.  Believe me, there's plenty to choose from.  They have FULL barracuda!  What do you do with barracuda?  I'll be spending a lot of time learning about seafood. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Just call me Team Mom

Last night, after the crazy rain blew through the city, Stephen had a soccer game at 10:15pm.  Yikes that's late.  As I've said, I love going to the games and boy was last night's game a good one!  The ref was pretty bad and wasn't calling any penalties, so the guys were getting very aggressive.  I didn't want anyone to get hurt, but the extra pushing and shoving made the game more exciting for us four ladies there to watch the game.

After the game I supplied orange slices and capri sun drink packs to the team.  What a hit!  It was fun to do something for the guys.  I never played a sport with a lot of running, so having orange slices at the end of a game is new to me - but they were delish at 11:30pm!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Weekend in Atlanta - Zombies, a Wedding and Chicken Wings

I've had two very busy weekends away from Atlanta and this past weekend it was very nice to get to stay home.  I also haven't posted in a while because work has been CRAZY busy.  The weekend was such a nice departure from the first few weeks of the month.

Friday night we decided to stay in and watch the end of The Walking Dead, AMC's hit new show.  WTF - that show is so awesome in so many ways.  Not only is it amazing to get to see Atlanta on screen (the show is filmed and set in Atlanta) but the costumes and makeup is first class - far better than any other cable show out there.  AMC does it right.  The plot is also fantastic.  The show takes place after zombies have taken over, how much of the planet, we don't know yet.  We only know what the characters know right now.

It's a great way to look at how far people would go to stay safe, how far people will go for family and what people will do when faced with death.  HIGHLY recommend everyone going out to get the first season.  It's only 6 episodes because AMC didn't know how well it would do.  Season 2 has started filming and it's causing street closures all over town.  There are definitely parts that make me close my eyes and wait until the scene is over, but it just makes it fun! (And the main character, Rick Grimes, is played by my favorite actor from Love Actually, Andrew Lincoln!)

Saturday was the wedding of one of my best friends, Jen.  She married the love of her life, Brent, who she met with me at a UGA game a few years back.  Only we didn't like him then, we met him AGAIN while playing kickball a few months later.  It was obvious when they started dating that they were perfect together and seeing how happy they were on their wedding day only confirmed that.  It was one of the most fun weddings I've been to.

Connie and I picked out the dress I wore to the wedding while I was in Chicago.

Sunday was spent relaxing and watching the Braves.  Boy was it HOT!  I haven't been that hot without a body of water near by in a very long time.  I love getting Dip n Dots at games but it was too hot even for ice cream, it would melt before people could finish!  We were smart and brought food and water so we stayed as cool as we could.

Sunday night Stephen and I made dinner at my place - chicken wings!  I've never made chicken wings myself, actually, I've never fried anything myself, so Stephen showed me how it's done.  What a delicious meal.  The chicken was so easy to get off the bone.  I'm not sure what restaurants are doing, but Stephen's wings were far better than any I've had eating out.

My tiny kitchen getting put to work!

mmm - 15 minutes and they're done!

The finished product - homemade blue cheese dressing too!

Monday, June 13, 2011


cloudy skyline picture, but best bridge for a pic!

I spent the weekend in Chicago with one of my very dear friends, Connie.  We go way back, back to middle school in Orlando.  We were best friends through high school and while we don't see or talk to each other all the time, when we do we pick up right where we left off.

I was only able to fly up on Saturday morning and had to come back Sunday evening, but we were able to cram TONS of fun into just 2 short days.

Our first stop after we dropped off my stuff at the apartment was to walk around her neighborhood and take it all in.  Connie lives in Lincoln Park which is far more beautiful than I expected it to be.  Maybe because I only associate the name Lincoln Park with the band??  There were parks around every corner, beautiful tree-lined streets and fun restaurants and bars on every block.  Such a cute part of town.  AND the zoo is FREE.  What a great bonus for the people of Chicago.  It isn't a large zoo, but they have the big three - big cats, primates and reptiles.  It must have been nap time because every animal we saw was napping, but it was still amazing to me that something like that was just a few blocks from Connie's apartment - and it was FREE!

When I asked two people at the office what I had to do when I was in Chicago - each one said that I had to eat an Italian Beef.  So be it - off we were to eat an Italian Beef at Portillo's.

The much anticipated Italian Beef 

The rest of Saturday was spent walking around town checking out the fun boutiques in different neighborhoods.  One of Connie's favorite stores was having a huge sale and I got some great necklaces for $7 each.  One of them I've worn twice (once in Chicago the night I bought it and today at work) and I keep getting compliments.

Saturday night we went to dinner at a cute Italian place in Lincoln Park and then headed to The Southern, a fun bar not too far from her place.  All locals.  It was a pretty good mixture of an older and younger crowd.  I didn't feel out of place at all.  We met some pretty interesting people and had a bunch of laughs.

Sunday the weather was fabulous and thank goodness because we had an architectural boat tour down the Chicago River!  WHOOP WHOOP!  Totally a tourist thing to do and I'm so glad I did.  There are SO many amazing buildings in Chicago the tour was such a great way to see all of them and really take them in without being distracted by the things around you.  Come on - you're on a boat, nothing else to look at but the buildings.  Our tour guide was amazing - she knew the year, architect, style and little tid bits of knowledge about basically every building we passed on our 90 min voyage.  We toured with The Official Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise.  HIGHLY recommended to anyone visiting Chicago.  Book early!  Our tour was at 1:00 and the rest of the day was already full.  Connie knew to book early because she'd missed out on a tour once when her family was visiting.  Also fun to note - there is a full bar on the boat.  Bloody Mary's and a cruise through the city. Yes, please.

Trump Tower in Chicago from the river

Heading back downtown under one of the old drawbridges 

We grabbed a bite to eat, did a little bit more shopping and headed back to the apartment to relax a bit before I had to head to the airport.

It was a very quick trip, but I fit so much in that It feels like I was there much longer.  I can't wait to go back and see even more of the city.

Things I loved about the city:

  • FREE Zoo
  • Parks (green space) around every corner
  • The Chicago River and Lake Michigan right there!  Water makes any big city better... and why is Atlanta the only one with out a large body of water?
  • How clean the city is.  It's a huge city, with lots of people and so many different neighborhoods, and everyone of them that we visited were CLEAN.  Even the cabs felt cleaner than in ATL or NYC
  • Shopping
  • Two airports - again, why is Atlanta the only large city with just one?
  • I didn't see many homeless people at all.  In Atlanta I feel like there is at least one homeless person on every street corner and in some areas even more.  It just gets depressing.  I know Chicago has rough areas, but everywhere we went, and we went all over the place, it was very nice not to feel like a bad person by not giving someone money

I have so many pictures, but I've only added a few.  Hopefully Connie will move back to Chicago after her few years in Baltimore. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

TOMS - I can't get enough

Only the best, most comfortable shoe on the planet...

Why was I so late to jump on the wagon??  I LOVE TOMS SHOES!  I want a million pairs, in every color possible.

Yesterday was my first day wearing my new, grey TOMS and they couldn't be more comfortable.  I got them in a size 11 because a size 10 I tried on at one point were just fitting my foot and I was worried about how they would stretch.  This morning I bought my second pair of Toms, in blue, size 10.  Classic fit.  Not only are they the most comfortable shoe I've worn besides my flip flops, but they aren't ridiculously priced.

I'm definitely going to frequent the site to see what new fabrics they come up with and styles.  I need to try a new style soon.  They also started selling sun glasses.  They are a little pricey for me, but who knows, maybe one day.

It keeps getting better: One for One Movement - for every pair of shoes purchased, TOMS will donate a pair of shoes to a child in need.  They are great shoes and you're helping children... you can't feel bad for spending the money!

These will be the next ones I purchase.  I can't wait until I get them.  (Stephen might be getting a pair one day soon!)

Go to the website now, order a pair, help a child in need.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Atlanta Silverbacks

Last night I went to my first North American Soccer League game.  The NASL teams are below MLS teams, but from what I learned last night, if you do well in the NASL you can be moved up to the MLS.


The game was the Atlanta Silverbacks vs the Montreal Impact, who is actually headed to the MLS.  (Side note - Montreal has enough fans to have a soccer team?? Who knew.)  We got free tickets from the soccer league that Stephen plays in because Wednesday nights are his games nights.  With free tickets, why not check it out.  We actually had a great time.  We met up with a bunch of friends before the game to tailgate and sat together for the game.  Watching a soccer game that close it pretty fun - much different than watching the World Cup on TV.

The game moved pretty quickly with all of the usual soccer highlights, great goals, flopping, yellow cards and even one red card.  We had a slight game delay because of lightening in the area, no big deal, we headed back to the car for another beer.  The team even has some fans!  Pretty sure they're friends and family members of the players, but hey, there were people cheering in the stands wearing Silverbacks jerseys.  It was a pretty neat atmosphere for young kids, something to keep in mind 10 years down the line when I have a young kid... maybe.

All in all, a pretty fun night doing something new and getting to share the experience with friends.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Game of Thrones

I've been reading like a mad woman lately.  The Kindle has really helped because I can have multiple books in one place.  Having the larger purse has helped too.  I can carry the Kindle or a book with me at all times.  LOVE IT.  

I just started reading A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin, the first book of his A Song of Fire and Ice series.  If that sounds familiar to you, HBO has created a series based on the book series and it's doing extremely well for the network.  Entertainment Weekly does recaps of each of the episodes as it does for Dexter or Glee and it's been the talk of the trade magazines for a few weeks now.  HBO hit a jack pot.  I've heard the show has a LOT of sex which is probably helping the ratings, but I haven't read any of that in the book just yet.  Maybe I'm not far enough along yet?  I'll keep you updated.  

I've been told the book is a lot like Lord of the Rings and I've never read a true fantasy book.  I'm a fan of the movies, but I've never picked up a fantasy for pleasure reading.  

I'm keeping up with my plan to read one actual book (in my hand) and then one book on the Kindle.  But the Kindle is sooo easy, I'm really struggling with it.  I miss that it isn't in my purse at this very moment.  

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Shopping for Stephen

I know this blog is supposed to be about me, but yesterday evening was all about Stephen.  He recently got a new job and with this new job came a new office dress code.  Off to the store we went!

Shopping for men's clothes is always interesting to me.  Why are they so much cheaper than women's clothes????  I mean really?!  And they are sized so much better than women's clothes.  For example:  pants.  The absolute most difficult article of clothes for me to find to fit.  I have so few options - size 6 or 8 and Short, Regular or Long.  Well of course I can only go with Long... but long to the people in the factory making my clothes don't really understand what LONG means... 32" inseam is NOT long people.  I need a 35" or 36" if I want to wear any sort of heal on my shoe.  For men, they have so many different size options.  When will this make it to women's clothes??  I need options!  I know, I know, some places have some really long pants... SOME places.  Do you know how badly I want a pair of Citizen Jeans?  Not long enough. Or to buy suit pants right off the rack... impossible.  My only option is JCrew catalog for $200 a pair.

We were very successful last night for Stephen.  He ended up with 7 or 8 polo shirts, 4 pairs of pants, a suit (a super hot suit) and new socks, boxers and undershirts.  I wish I could have shopping trips like that!  And just to note - his suit was less than one pair of pants for me.

Amen to that!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fun days in Charleston

Let's just say, I want to go back.  It was such a great trip.  Thursday after work I headed down to Charleston with two of my friends, Nicole and Karen, to meet our friend, Leigh, who moved to Charleston a few months ago.  She lives 10 min from the beach and her roommates were out of town so it was perfect timing.

My favorite view

Friday was spent on Folly Beach.  We packed our cooler with drinks and snacks and loaded up on sunscreen for the day.  I think people change when they are at the beach, at least I feel like I do.  I'm so much calmer when I'm laying on the sand looking out over the ocean and when I'm in the water I'm like a little kid playing in the waves.  The beach is such a happy place for me, I was born to live near water.

Friday night we got all dressed up and headed downtown Charleston for dinner and drinks.  We at at Fleet Landing Restaurant right on the water.  BEAUTIFUL.  The food was absolutely fantastic and the atmosphere was very cool.  The restaurant is in a retired Naval building right on the water giving diners views of the water from basically any seat in the house.  We at outside on the deck to enjoy the sea air as the sun set.  We saw fireworks from somewhere in the distance and the night was perfect.  The best part of our meal had to have been the Lump Crab Bruschetta - OMG was it good.  Think regular bruschetta but with giant chunks of crab meat on top as well.

Fleet Landing

After dinner we headed to Rooftop Bar to take in the views of downtown Charleston.  The place was hopping (bad music, but you can't have everything) and we were lucky to find a table to enjoy our rounds of beer.  I wasn't feeling well so I didn't drink, but the other ladies had a good time.  

Saturday we took advantage of Leigh's boyfriend's boat and headed off shore to the open ocean and a few secluded islands for our second day in the sun.  First stop was Morris Island.  

 Morris Island lighthouse

We hung out for a few hours on Morris Island and watched people catch SHARKS and stingrays right from the beach.  I was NOT getting into the water.  They weren't big sharks, but damn, it was a shark right off the beach!  After hanging out for a while we headed to the "party beach".

 Our ride for the day, on the left

The other boats on the beach

I'm not sure what the name of this beach or island was, but it was a lot of fun.  No families, just young people there to hang out and drink.  So we joined in.  We spent most of the day at this beach playing in the water and lounging on the boat.  

After we left the beach we headed to Red's Ice House for a bathroom break and some dinner.  

What a fun place!  It was packed and we were parked 3 boats deep at the dock.  There were buckets of beer consumed, lots of food and some shots of tequila.  Then it was back out on the water to head home and to watch the sunset from the open ocean.

Sunsets don't get much better than that one.  That's the view from a mile or two out in the water with the sun setting over the South Carolina coast.  Breathtaking.  The ride home was crazy bumpy and I have bruises to show for it!  

Saturday night we need a low key night after our second day in the sun so we headed back to Folly Beach to Surf Bar where we played a few rounds of CatchPhrase and some flip cup games and then it was back to the house to sleep.

Sunday morning our last stop before headed out of town was Lost Dog Cafe for brunch.  It was the place to be!  It was packed with people, some who drove, so who biked and others who drove their golf carts.  The walls are full of pictures of dogs and dogs are more than welcome to join their families on the patio for meals.  

After brunch, the three of us hit the road.  It was such a fantastic trip I wish I could do it over and over again.  Leigh kept asking us to move to Charleston, there is a very strong pull for me there.  The history of the city fascinates me and I love the look of the town.  And how can you go wrong living so close to the beach!?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Sleep over with Mabel!

Last night was the first night that Mabel slept at my place.  When Stephen would sleep at my house, poor Mabel would have to stay home all by herself.  I always felt so bad and then Stephen would have to leave early in the morning.

Sunday after Mabel's surgery we bought her a bed and a few toys so she'd feel at home at my place.  Mabel did great!  She definitely wanted to get up in the bed, but she's not allowed on the furniture at my place.  Black fur and my light colored furniture don't mix well.  She wasn't too happy with that new rule.  But she found her little bed and slept most of the night.

Mabel showing off her bed and new toys this morning

The cutest part of her being at my place is the "click click click" her nails make on the hardwood floor.

Sometimes being closer to Dad is better than the doggie bed...

I'm looking forward to many more nights with Mabes at my place.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend!

What a great way to start the summer!  The 3-day weekend was just what I needed.  Friday I got out of work early and headed right over to Stephen’s where I basically didn’t leave all weekend.  Here is how the weekend unfolded:

Friday night:
Stephen had some great news to celebrate so it was my duty as a wonderful girlfriend to take him out to dinner.  We hit up Parish in Inman Park for some Creole cooking.  We were not disappointed.  Every thing we ate, from the BBQ Shrimp appetizer to our entrees, Fried Catfish and Fried Chicken, to the dessert, Banana Bread Pudding, was delicious.  Even the bread that we were served before our meal was fresh and delicious.  It was the perfect choice for a celebratory dinner.

BBQ at Stephen’s!  Stephen and his friend have been looking for an excuse to BBQ for a long time and I gave them a perfect reason on Saturday – Brew at the Zoo that evening.  BBQ during the day, drinking with zoo animals in the evening: PERFECT!  The BBQ was a huge success. At one point there might have been 25 people at his house enjoying all of the food and drinks.  Stephen manned the grill all day, dogs roamed the yard and guys and gals ate and drank.  It couldn’t have gone more smoothly.

Brew at the Zoo was basically an excuse for us to look at all the animals without kids running around.  Instead of kids there were drunk adults, still better than kids.  We tasted a lot of beers, I don’t remember a single one, tasted some wine, again, don’t remember, and took lots of pictures.  Another success for the weekend. 

Sunday morning started out pretty normal.  We were kind of hung over and we had a second BBQ to attend that afternoon.  What we didn’t see coming was the trip to the vet we’d be taking a few hours later.  Mabel came into the bedroom to see me after eating breakfast and she was acting funny.  I looked at one of her paws and she let out the worst yelp that I’ve ever heard.  Turns out one of her nails had broken and we would need professional help to trim it.  Off to the vet we went.  Poor Mabel needed a little surgical procedure and she’s been in a bandage ever since.  Poor little girl.  There was a pet store not too far from where we were waiting for her so I went to buy her some “I’m sorry you’re hurt” gifts.  These will live at my house for when she gets to spend the night there.  She now has her own bed for my place!

With temperatures in the 90s on Monday we headed to the only body of water in Atlanta, the Chattahoochee River.  Tubes were inflated, beer chilled in coolers and off we went.  We weren’t the only ones with this plan and the river was pretty packed.  We floated, drank and even did a bit of cliff jumping.  The evening ended with dinner on a patio with a margarita.

A long weekend with only a small bump in the road is a pretty good weekend!  Spending everyday with friends is exactly what holiday weekends are for.