Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Restaurant Review: Loca Luna

Last night Stephen's mom took us out to dinner to Loca Luna on Amsterdam Ave.  It used to be located right by my apartment on 6th in Midtown but that location looks condemned right now.  Will I ever head back to Loca Luna?  Probably not, unless it's with a group of people and it's more of a social event rather than dinner.

Let me start by saying, we may have picked a bad night - I'm not sure.  Tuesday night's are $18 all you can eat so the kitchen and serving staff might not have giving their best effort.  However, when I'm paying money for dinner, I expect to get good service.  Last night that was not the case.  We were sat inside, by a giant fan, and it took close to 5 minutes for anyone to come by the table to greet us and take a drink order.  That was our first meeting with Lucas.  Because we were using a Living Social coupon we weren't able to take advantage of the $18 deal but we could only order items on that menu, at full price.  It was another 10 minutes before Lucas came back to take our order, and he still didn't have our drinks with him.

Twenty minutes after sitting down we finally had our drinks and we put in our order.  When the food came out it was good, but could have been a little bit warmer.  I have a feeling it was sitting in the back ready to go when it was ordered.  The flavors were fantastic, but not fresh.  We had the steamed mussels and we had 3 that weren't open and 2 that didn't have a mussel in them at all.  If we had the all you can eat menu this wouldn't have been a problem, but we were paying full price.  The best part of the meal was the mojito - it was delicious.  I also want to note that nowhere on the website does it say that Tuesday nights have a special menu and coupons aren't accepted - that would have been very helpful information, especially with there is a Living Social deal AND a Groupon for them floating around out there.

The service was horrible.  I believe it came down to our server not caring at all about his job or our evening.  Very disappointing.  The atmosphere is great and in a good location with plenty of parking, but the service killed it for me.  Because there is a chance that I'd get the same server again, I don't want to go back.

Overall, I give Loca Luna a 2 out of 5 stars.  The two stars being for atmosphere and the drinks.  The service and food left a lot to be desired.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Easiest Peach Cobbler

I've never made Peach Cobbler before, for what ever reason it just sounds difficult.  Cobbler - sounds like there are a lot of steps.  I always avoided it.  Well, it's National Peach Month and I live in Georgia.  That's just asking for Peach Cobbler to be made.  

On one of my best friend's blogs, Our Live Beyond the Game, she posted a Peach Cobbler recipe.  The EASIEST recipe for anything I've ever seen.  PB&J might be easier to make... but maybe not.  Check out her blog for the recipe.  It goes something like this:

  • Drain one can of peaches, dump both into baking dish
  • Cover with box of yellow cake mix
  • Place sliced butter all over top
  • Bake for an hour
When it was done baking we waited for it to cool for a little bit then dug in.  The consistency wasn't right because it was still so warm - but boy was it delicious.  Stephen had some cobbler for breakfast this morning and said it was perfect.  This may be my new dinner party dessert.  :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Briton and Hanieh's wedding weekend

Two of my very dear friends, Hanieh and Briton were married this weekend.  I used to work with Hanieh at my first advertising agency and she we moved in to an apartment together for a year.  In that year we met Briton through some of my friends and they started dating.  It was love at first sight.  They were inseparable from the beginning and after a year they decided they wanted to live together and I was out on my own.  That's when I discovered how much I love living alone!

Through the years Briton and Hanieh have been there for me in the good times and the bad.  Briton's family is huge and they have become an extended family of my own.  To watch the two of them say their vows and become one family was joy that I can't even put into words, I wish I could.  The wedding was absolutely gorgeous and full of love.  The reception was fabulous and one of the best receptions I've ever attended.  We danced and laughed and sang until they turned up the lights around midnight, it could have been after midnight, I don't even know.  I'm so extremely happy for two of the most special people in my life.

Before the wedding, H&B had invited me to dinner at his family's house Thursday night and included Stephen and me in the Rehearsal Dinner.  Just more examples of how caring and thoughtful they are.  Every detail of the wedding was special.  Stephen commented on how amazing the families are because it's so easy to see how genuine their love for each other really is.  He's absolutely right.

My weekend didn't 100% revolve around the wedding.  Saturday morning, Stephen and I ran the DI Dash 5k in Marietta.  I'm not sure if I've mentioned this, but I haven't put on my running shoes since the Peachtree Road Race in July.  But I thought, if I'm going to get back into running, why not do it with a race.  The 5k was much better than the Peachtree 10k.  My goal was to finish under 36:00 and I finished at 35:57.  Thank goodness!  The first mile was all downhill  and then they killed you with two miles of uphill track.  Then the last 100 yards to the finish were a steep incline!  Thanks a lot!  But we both finished (Stephen under 28:00 minutes!) and I hope it will be a jump start to running again.

Sunday was our lazy weekend day.  We met friends at Holeman & Finch for brunch - what a great new find!  I'd never even heard about this public house, but I'll probably add this to the list for brunch OR to grab drinks.  What an interesting menu and atmosphere.  Check out their website for more information.  I won't do it justice.  (Don't order the bloody mary - the worst one I've ever tasted.  However, everything else the group ate was delicious!)

Sunday afternoon I started packing.  It's time to move again.  I'm going to be very sad to say good bye to my adorable Midtown apartment but the other end of the move is going to be even better.  Stephen and I have decided that our months of driving back and forth between apartments and conversations starting with "Can we stay at my place tonight" are over, I'm moving in to his house with him.  I'm absolutely comfortable with this decision and I know it's the right move for the right reasons.  I couldn't be happier. Yesterday I moved a few easy decorative items from my house along with 4 boxes that I've already unpacked at the house.  I can't wait to do more.  I haven't told my parents yet...

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Guster at Chastain Amphitheater

Who is your favorite band?  For me, that's an easy answer - longtime favorite GUSTER!  I've been listening to their music since college and my enthusiasm for the band has only continued to grow.  I've seen Guster somewhere between 5-8 times, I've lost track over the years, but I know every show has me dancing and singing along.

Last night's show at Chastain didn't disappoint.  Somehow I lucked out and we had ROW B seats.  In the pit.  SO CLOSE to the band.  I highly recommend row B to anyone attending a concert.  :)
I didn't keep track of the setlist because I was too busy dancing and singing but the show opened with a bang and went out with one, too.  Never a dull moment.

What I love about Guster is their no frills approach to stage set up.  There were microphones, 2 drum sets, a piano and that's all folks.  The focus is on the music.  The band also has a great sense of humor and it comes across in the show with silly little things here and there - a band member coming on stage to lead clapping for a section of a show, holding flashlights to each other's faces while singing and the best was the disco ball helmet.  That's exactly what it was - a disco ball helmet with a microphone inside so he never stopped singing.

It's great to love a band that continues to put out great music and tour.  The opening band, Jack's Mannequin was good, but every single song sounded like the one they just played.  JM's fan base was 100% high school hipster.  They all left when Guster came on stage.  Ahhh, it finally paid off to be old!

This picture is for Stephen.  He was my photographer while I was dancing.  He caught an awesome picture of me in the stage lights.  Stephen, you're the best.  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Viva Las Vegas!!!!

A few months ago, a quick suggestion in an email led to a full blown girl's weekend in Las Vegas, complete with bachlorette party.  Four of us flew in from Atlanta, San Diego and Jacksonville to spend 3 nights and 4 days in the Sin City.

Vegas wasn't new to me, I'd been out there once when I was a teenager for a volleyball tournament, but I was a teenager.  I couldn't gamble, I couldn't even go into a casino, I couldn't drink, we weren't allowed to stay up late at night - all the things that make Vegas so much fun.

We stayed at The Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino.  Knowing nothing about the city and the other hotels it sounded like a good choice, but looking back I would have probably sprung for a nicer hotel.  The rooms were a good size, the beds soft and the bathrooms plenty large enough for 4 of us to get ready at one time but other areas were lacking.  I didn't like our pool(s) AT ALL.  The chairs were only in the sun for a few hours and if you didn't claim your chair by 10am, tough luck.  I would have preferred a hotel with a larger pool area.  Also, the curtains in the hotel room were horrible.  I was awake with the sun every morning and had to put a pillow over my head to get back to sleep.  Isn't Vegas about staying up all night and sleeping in?  It was nice being attached to a mall, but we didn't do any shopping.  I think next time I'd like to stay at the Mirage or Bellagio.  There wasn't anything at the Planet Hollywood to bring me back.

Friday night was our "dinner and a show" night.  We walked down the strip to the Mirage where we had dinner at Stack which might have been my favorite dinner of my life.  Then it was on to see Cirque du Soleil's Love.  I was in awe the entire show.  I wish I could have taken pictures.  When the lights came up and the singing stopped I was left with a giant smile on my face.  I'd see it again tomorrow, and the next day and the next.  I absolutely loved it.

Another highlight of the trip was the Minus 5 Ice Lounge in Mandalay Bay.  For $15 we were given a parka, gloves and boots to put over our dresses and into the bar made of ice we went.  Drinks were $10 once inside.  With bare legs I was a little worried that I'd be in and out in just a few minutes, but we were in there a good 20-30 minutes before our fingers were cold and we headed out.  Very cool experience for anyone with an extra $25 to spare.  We bought a few of the pictures that they take for you, I'll post those when I get them.

The best part of the trip was being with friends I don't get to see very often.  It was so nice to catch up, have a few drinks, laugh a lot and forget all the stress of the real world back at home.... and honestly, only work stresses me out.  But it was nice to leave it all behind.

Looking forward to a return trip!  And for the record:  overall I won $3 gambling.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Delta's iphone App review

I'm at the airport about once a month, sometimes more.  I live away from my family and a lot of my very dear friends.  I've often joked that I need to have a direct deposit to Delta for $250 each month.  I also travel pretty often for work.  Not as much by plane these days, but every now and then.

With all of this travel, I would easily consider myself an expert traveler.  I'm quick in the security lines.  I know my way around airports.  I never check a bag - I can pack anything into my carry on bag!  The only thing I need is upgrade status.  I'm not there yet... close, but not there.

One thing that has made my life even easier is the Delta Airlines iphone app.  I only fly Delta.  My grandpa worked for Delta for 40 years so the airline is in my blood.  Also, living in Atlanta, it's just easiest to fly Delta.  The app is AMAZING.  It's everything I wanted it to be and more.

With the app you sign in with your skymiles number and it automatically pulls up all of your itineraries.  You can even book flights from the app, I haven't done that just yet.  You can set up push notifications from the app and it alerts you when you can check in, and change seats, and it continues to update you with your flight's gate and any gate or departure changes.

The best part is the boarding pass.  I don't have to get it in my email or have it texted to me anymore, it's right here in my app.  And it saves expired boarding passes, helpful I can imagine if you have to do expense reports, etc.

It's SO EASY.  I've moved the app to my front screen on my iphone even though I don't fly every day.  It makes me happy to see it.

I'm off to the airport today to head to LAS VEGAS with 3 of my very best friends, Jen, Jenn and Lindsay.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Is 10:00 too early for a stripper?

There will be no pictures of the topic of this post... yet they do exist somewhere.  I will probably never be able to run for political office, but I'll get over it.

One of my very best friends is getting married in less than 2 weeks.  She's marrying into one of the best families I've ever met.  Her fiance is one of 7 kids, 5 being girls.  The five girls are fantastic.  Beautiful inside and out and crazy fun to be around.  For her bachelorette party we spent the day at the W Midtown hotel.  There was some pool and cabana time, crazy showers (come on - 8 girls getting ready in one hour), a lingerie party, dinner at the Spice Market, drinking, shopping and.... a stripper.

I'm not sure how much we had to drink before we decided that it was a good idea to surprise her with a stripper, but it was decided.  10:00.

I've never seen a male stripper before.  They are gross.  Gross.  He wasn't attractive, older  than me and his moves were gross.  I think if Stephen was dancing and moving around like he was I'd still be laughing hysterically.  I'm not sure I've laughed as hard as I laughed for the 30 min he was in the room.  She was mortified.  Some of the best money I ever spent - her face when he started taking off his clothes was priceless.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Last week I had a business trip to the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia.  It was my first time to the city and everything I heard about it before heading up was negative.  Everything.  I wanted to see for myself before I made any decisions about the city so I went in open minded.

It's a pretty rough around the edges type of city.  VERY different from Atlanta and complete opposite from where I grew up in Orlando.  We were there to visit Bottom Dollar Food locations all around the city, so I was prepared to get to see a few different parts of town.  Some were nice, others made me want to leave as soon as we drove in.  Let's just say that I won't be volunteering to move to Philly any time in the future.

While the city left a lot to be desired, the Bottom Dollar Foods that we visited were great.  The stores are unlike anything we have in Atlanta and I wish that wasn't the case.  The stores are smaller in size than a Publix and don't have all of the frills that you'd find in a Publix or even a Kroger, but the prices can't be beat.  I wouldn't do all of my full shopping at at BDF (I'm too much of a seafood and steak snob not to shop at a farmers market or Fresh Market) but I'd definitely make a trip or two a month for a lot of my grocery list.  If you read the blog you know that I do most of my shopping at a farmer's market, so liking a grocery store, other than Publix, is a huge stretch for me.

The second day we were in town was to attend the Grand Opening of a new store.  The doors opened at 7:30am and there was a crowd!  I had no idea people waited in line to go to a new grocery store.  

Also new while in town, a Philly Cheesesteak.  A hot, steak sub with a lot of cheese and veggies isn't my idea of a great lunch but while I was in town, I had to do it.  My boss and I drove around for 30 minutes looking for a legit, authentic cheesesteak place and we came upon Steve's Prince of Steak.  A hold in the wall, walk up and order place with delicious food.  They've been open 30 years, they must be doing something right.  Here is the cheesesteak that I ordered.  It was physically impossible for me to finish the entire thing, I ate half.

Back in Atlanta Friday night we went to the Braves game honoring retired manager, Bobby Cox.  What a great night and such a fun game.  I must admit, section 403 is the way to go for upper deck seats.

Saturday morning was a garage sale at my house for my two neighbors.  Stephen and I bought a few things, my favorite being this fun mirror.  I'm not a fan of the flaking gold paint, but stripped and repainted it will be beautiful!  Stay tuned to see what color Stephen and I choose.  

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Look who can Wake Board!

This past weekend was fabulous.  I seem to have a lot of these lately - I'm a very lucky lady.

Friday night was spend just hanging out around the house with a nice dinner and a movie. Nothing can beat that after a long, stressful weekend.

Saturday was a lazy day - another perfect way to get over a hard week.  Saturday night we went to a friend's house for a BBQ and met a new couple.  It's always so nice to meet new people, especially when they are loads of fun.  Then we headed over to Yoforia for some froyo and then to The Family Dog, a new bar in the Highlands.  We weren't long at the bar and then headed back home to get ready for our big day Sunday.

Sunday was boat day with Kristen and Daniel!  Mabel joined us for our adventure and she definitely added some laughs to the trip.  It was her first time on a boat and she was NOT happy when we'd anchor the boat and float in the water, away from the boat.  Mabel isn't a barker but Sunday she let us know how pissed off she was.  Then there is the issue with bathroom breaks.  About 3 hours into the trip Mabel gave me the look that I've seen before, the "it's time to go to the bathroom RIGHT now" look so off to shore she and I went.

The most exciting part of Sunday was wake boarding.  I don't have any pictures, silly me, but Stephen learned to wake board!!  I gave it a couple shots, but gave up after 5 wipeouts.  Stephen didn't give up.  He was in the water for over an hour getting beat up every time he fell.  Then he got it.  All of a sudden he wasn't falling anymore.  Kristen and I cheered so loud when he got it.  I haven't seen him smile like that... ever.  He even went to sleep smiling Sunday night.

One day I'll get up on the wake board... one day.  Give me a set of skis and I'll show you how it's done.

Friday, August 5, 2011

It's Kind of a Funny Story: Movie Review

What a fantastic, sweet movie this is!  It's actually one I wouldn't mind watching again and again.  The story focuses on a clinically depressed teenager, Craig, and his journey to make his life better.  He has dreams and thoughts of suicide and instead of riding his bike to a bridge to jump off, he heads right to the hospital and checks himself in.  In the ward he meets a wide variety of people, each with his or her own problems.  Everyone on the floor was nice and got along, that's the only part of the movie that I think stretched the truth too far.  Let's just hope that there isn't a teenager out there who is depressed and sees Craig's journey and thinks it can be that easy.  But if you can take the lessons he's learned for what they are, part of a movie, it's an unbelievably charming story. 

I found it impossible not to fall in love with Craig and the friends he makes in just 7 short days on the psych floor.  If this movie doesn't bring a smile to your face multiple times while you're watching, I'm disappointed in you.  Go, check out the movie, it's absolutely worth it.  I'm not one for spoilers, so that's all you're going to get out of me.

Side note:  This morning I had Greek yogurt, honey and blueberries for breakfast.  Quite the departure from my normal cereal.  LOVE IT.  It should always be blueberry season. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Green Fin Wine

Last night Stephen made the best dinner - and it was so easy.  He made pasta with fried chicken.  Look how delicious it looks - and it tasted just as good as it looks.  Now if you follow my blog (all two of you!) you know Stephen is an amazing cook and cooks for us quite often.  What was new last night was the Green Fin wine.

The wine is a cabernet sauvignon from Trader Joe's, my all time favorite place to get wine.  It's so cheap and so good!  Green Fin did not disappoint.  They also have a white wine Green Fin, haven't tried that one yet.  Stephen wasn't drinking, so it was left in my hands to finish the bottle.  I didn't get to finish all of it because of soccer, but I did my best.  It's nice and dry and doesn't leave a gross after taste.  I'll be adding it to my regular Trader Joe's shopping lists.  

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Burn After Reading: A Movie Review

I'm going to make this one quick because I don't want to think about the movie any longer.  Stephen picked the movie - I take no blame in this one.

The cast is amazing.  Brad Pitt was absolutely weird.  I hated his character.  I didn't understand him.  Are there really people like that out there?  Also, every person in that movie was cheating on someone except for the one guy who was getting royally screwed by his wife and work. And he didn't even get revenge in the end.  Boo, Hollywood.  I've never really liked any of the Coen brothers movies and I'll add this one to that pile.

Not a single character buy John Malkovich's was worth liking.  And don't even get me started on Tilda.  That lady freaks me out.

Rating - 1 out of 5 stars.

Yes, it took me away from reality for a few hours, but not to a place I liked or want to return.  I want to be moved by a movie, happy or sad, but this one angered me.  Maybe that was the point.  I felt like the CIA guys at the end of the movie.  What did we learn?  Nothing.  (I did laugh out loud when Brad's character meet's George's character.  Not going to spoil that for any readers...)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Chelsea Handler at Chastain

Chelsea Handler is one of the funniest people on TV, in my opinion.  She says a lot of the things that I’m thinking and I’m too afraid to say out loud.  When I saw that she was coming to Atlanta, Kristen and I jumped on the tickets. 

Chastain Amphitheater, one of my favorite places on earth

The first show she had the flu and was rescheduled.  BUMMER because I’d passed on some really awesome plans for that afternoon because I had her show that evening.  The rescheduled show was during one of the hottest weeks in Atlanta.  Hot and rainy.

Our seats were in the general admission area of Chastain.  Normally when I go to a show there I get a table or assigned seating, so this was new.  It was new, but perfect for a standup show.  For a concert you want to be close and have space to dance around, for standup it was okay that we were just sitting around listening.  It was also perfect because for the first comedian’s routine it started to rain.  Because we had the trees above us we didn’t get as wet as the rest of the audience. 

On the show itself, it left a lot to be desired.  The opening comedians (they said their names once and I’ll never remember a name just once) were good, but there was a lot of sex and pop culture humor.  Nothing too original.  When Chelsea came out it was pretty much what I expected.  She was funny, but definitely not long enough.  The show ended by 10:00 – with FOUR comedians.  That’s only 30 min each.  Boo to that.  Chelsea was in jeans with her hair back and wearing what I thought were keds from so far away, so she was totally casual.  The jokes were funny, a lot about different cultures and gay people, but again, nothing too original.  Nothing that made me really laugh out loud. 

Not that the night was a disappointment.  It was a lot of fun and a new experience.  I like new experiences.