April 8, 2015

Netflix Titles That (Pleasantly) Surprise


Anyone out there remember when Netflix focused on the DVD-by-mail subscription service? Once upon a time in a college Media Studies class, I wrote a paper about how Netflix (and possibly Redbox) was taking over the movie rental world. This was when Blockbuster Video could still be found in every neighborhood. Now Blockbuster is an ancient relic of yesteryear, and Netflix treats their mail service like the red-headed stepchild. Redheads are downright underrated, by the way. Also, does anyone even use the mail service these days? There's really no point. The streaming services now offers an extensive variety of movies to choose from, including some fairly new and big-name releases. 

Big-budget films are cool and all, but I always love a true lesser-known diamond in the rough. With all the indie options out there, it's difficult to pick a good one for those cozy date nights on the sofa. That's why I'm sharing a list of titles that I really, really, really enjoyed. As far as my tastes go, I prefer love the suspense/thriller genre, and I'm also a sucker for good character development and introspection. If you that sounds right up your alley, then you might like these options (in no particular order)(all are new(er) titles):

April 4, 2015

In case anyone's interested.

(obligatory pup photo)
This morning, while out killing some time with Raven, I saw a sign for office space. 4,000+ square feet is available for lease in Buckhead, behind Trader Joe's, in case anyone's interested. I thought... I should definitely do that. I should rent out some space, buckle down and get to working on all these creative projects spinning around in my head, that I haven't been able to get done in the comfort of my own home. It was a nice thought, but it's not in my realm of possibility right now, and I don't have some profound revelation to share about this, so I guess I'll leave that there.

March 25, 2015

Those Eyes

This is Raven. She was a stray, and the second I saw her eyes (one blue, one brown) I had to meet her. She's a Pit Lab Mix, she's got lots of energy (as to be expected), she loves to play tug-of-war, she'll go wild for any toy that squeaks and if you kiss her on the face, she kisses you right back. I don't understand how anyone could've let her out of their sight, and I definitely can't comprehend how anyone would let her stray. When she's acting up and I scold her, she just sits down and looks up at me with those eyes... ugh. I melt!

There are things I never knew about puppies:
  • They require a hefty amount of sleep. One minute she's aggressively chewing on a toy, the next she's snoring.
  • Speaking of snoring, they do that. It's cute and annoying at the same time.
  • They really do chase their tail (if the tail is long enough). One time she actually caught it, and she squealed at the pain from biting herself. She has since pulled the same stunt with her foot. HER FOOT. The "Dumb Dog" lyrics from Annie now make much more sense.
  • They sometimes break free from their crate. Always make sure it's tightly secured.
  • Trying to raise one without help will make you consider dropping him/her off at the pound. 
  • When they pass gas, it's silent - but DEADLY.
  • They like to like to lick you, everywhere.
I'm starting to think owning/raising a puppy is kinda like trying to learn another language, in the sense that it's much easier if you do it while you're young. If you first give it a try as an adult, you might want to give up.

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March 17, 2015


There's a community center area on my side of town with a library, a walking trail and a pond with ducks and birds that stroll right in your path if you get in their way. It's a nice spot to visit when the first bits of spring arrive, so that's what I did last week. That's about all I've done recently. I figured I should post some sort of update here, but there's really nothing to... update! Let's try a good, old-fashioned, random list:

Bates Motel season three is underway, and it's the best thing on tv right now (IMHO). Shows that I used to love and have been falling flat include but are not limited to Scandal, The Walking Dead, Once Upon a Time and Grey's Anatomy.

It is lease renewal season, and I am s.t.r.e.s.s.i.n.g. about how I'm going to proceed. I don't feel like being an adult this month.

I climbed Kennesaw mountain again, since it's warm enough for outdoors-y activities, and it was much easier than the first time I did it (almost two years ago [!]). I didn't even need to stop and catch my breath, and I had enough energy to jog back down the trail. Yay for fitness, I guess.

My Great Aunt & Uncle celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary last weekend, and their love it heartwarming - to say the least.

My latest Trader Joe's obsessions include their Miso Soup, Mango Chips and Trail Mix Cookies.

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February 18, 2015

Sweet Melissa Records

I had some time to kill the other afternoon, and since I was in the area and the weather was right, I stopped by the antique shop in the Marietta square. It's got one of those small hometown-y store fronts that's just beaming with character. Typewriters and vintage cameras sit in the windows looking all classy and rustic, luring fine folks like myself through the front door. It smells like you'd expect an antique store to smell - like century old wood furniture polish. 

Way in the back sits the record shop. On my first visit I expected to find collectors edition albums going for upwards of $100, but I was (pleasantly) surprised to see such a wide variety of old and new music for sale. This is probably the case for most record stores these days, but I haven't been in enough of them to know for sure.

February 16, 2015

The smoothie bandwagon

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I have not-so-embarrassing confession to make: I'm a closeted smoothie freak. I make a smoothie at least once a day, sometimes twice. To clarify, I don't crossfit; I don't P90x; I'm not training for a marathon; I'm no raw vegan, and I'm not the cleanest eater out there. While I'm conscious of the foods I put in my body, I don't consider myself a health freak. I indulge, and I usually do it with little to no guilt. My obsession is specifically with smoothies. When you have the right ingredients, they super easy to make, and depending what you add to the mix, they're insanely filling! Quick, easy, filling and healthy (usually) - I don't get why more people haven't jumped on the smoothie bandwagon. My NutriBullet gets more use than any other small appliance in my kitchen, so I thought I'd take a minute to share my favorite recipes. 

I didn't pull these from anywhere else on the internet. Most of the online recipes I found called for ingredients I just didn't care for (kale, swiss chard, bok choy... I know they're supposed to be miracle leafs, but my taste buds said no, thanks.), which means I had to mix and match a few times to find what I really like. As far as greens go, spinach is by far my favorite. Arugula is a close second. Also, pineapple is the perfect sweetener for fruit smoothies, and bananas work well as a natural sweetener for creamy smoothies. I did not include measurements, mainly because I don't measure everything out. I just toss it in the base and go, and that usually works for me.

Alright, enough of me rambling. Let's get to business.

February 13, 2015

Men, this is how you make up with your lady

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Just in time for Valentine's Day! I was sitting and trying to come up with some love-related post to write, and for some odd reason this subject kept popping up. Sooooo... here it goes.

There are articles on this subject already, and most of them consist of phrases like “assess the situation,” “apologize,” “correct the problem” and other generic ideas that make you say duh. From my experience, men need things spelled out for them - explicitly. You can tell them to correct the problem. Yeah, sure… That sounds nice, but it seems to be the case that unless we explain how to do it and/or give specific ways to do it, they probably won’t get it. And that’s okay. That's why I'm here.

I don’t write this to diminish a man’s mental capabilities, but there’s a reason us women are considered so confusing. We’re not. I promise. It’s just sometimes the men really don’t have a clue. At all. Whatsoever. Sometimes the entire male population just seems like one, big disappointment to us ladies. And sometimes we really do sit around watching Waiting to Exhale, eating ice cream and talking crap about the gentlemen in our life. That’s very unfortunate, but it’s true. When a man messes up with a woman he really cares about, whether it’s his wife, girlfriend, friend, mother, sister, etc, it’s important to make it right. (It’s worth mentioning that this goes both ways. I am not holding men to a higher standard than us women, but this post is for all the kind Sirs out there). Again, I'm speaking from my own personal experience, but it seems that some men don’t know how to make it right.

Generally speaking, the amount of effort required to make things right is directly correlated to the severity of the offense. If you forgot her birthday or got caught kissing a coworker, a half bouquet of carnations from your local grocery store will not suffice. If you got caught flirting with a coworker, maybe. It’s a start, but it’s going to take more time and energy.

Every woman is different, though. Step one below is a given all the way around, but the others will need to be tweaked accordingly. The tips should be used as a template for success, not as an exact formula.

*This is all assuming you actually care to make it right. If you don't I guess you can just #kanyeshrug it off.

February 11, 2015

Experiencing the music - The Basement

I got a text message from Phil about a concert at the Basement on a random weekday evening. It's all the way on the other side of town for me, near Grant Park. The part of me that lies to myself and says I'll try to be in bed by 11pm said no, but the part of me that keeps it real about my night owl tendencies said 'heck yeah!' So, I went. 

The headliners were Swoope and Christon Gray, a duo I had seen once before a couple years back. The opening acts were Natalie Lauren, Alex Faith and B. Reith (my personal favorite - love me some blue-eyed soul). All in all, the show was solid. My photos, however, were not. When you're short, and standing in a semi-crowded and intimate venue, it's tough to see all the action, let alone document it. I did my best, but I mainly just snapped a few pictures and proceeded to enjoy the music sans camera. 

I will say though, it was interesting to see how many people were too busy taking a video recording of each set with their phone, instead of actually listening to and enjoying the moments. Honestly, if I were to record two or three live songs on my phone, I doubt I'd even go back and watch it more than once. I probably wouldn't even watch it once! What's the point? The video quality couldn't come close to experiencing the music with your own two eyes and ears, and showing it so someone else doesn't have the same effect as taking someone else to the show with you. Does it? Why do so many people go to concerts these days and hold their phones up to record the whole time? Am I missing something?

February 9, 2015

Holeman & Finch

I finally found my way to Holeman & Finch. After years (literally) of hearing about it, seeing raving reviews and trying to get there during that golden 10pm burger hour, I finally got my chance. It used to be the case that their signature burger was only available after 10pm. Once 10pm hit, the restaurant would only produce 24 burgers, and once all 24 had been ordered, that was it. No more burgers for the evening. It's always available on the Sunday brunch menu, but their Sunday brunch ends at 2pm, and personally, I don't have a taste for a burger during breakfast/brunch. They've recently put the burger on the menu full time, but they still take their time crafting the little masterpieces so everyone can enjoy the goodness. 

The burger was everything I could have asked for and more. Between the house-made buns are a patty, a layer of cheese, another patty, another layer of cheese, topped with onions and pickles, and a side of mustard and house-made ketchup. I ordered mine without cheese, but I took a bite of my date's, and the cheese really does make a difference. Still, even without that gooey layer, it's tied with Umami for the best burger I've ever had. It knocked Shake Shake down a position on my list, and that's saying something serious.

Also, the caramel bacon popcorn was... just... let's throw in this gif again.

I left that place with the biggest food baby I've had in a long time, but it was well worth it. I'll definitely be putting Holeman & Finch on my list of favorite places to eat in Atlanta.

The atmosphere is nice and low-key as well. If you're in/near the Buckhead area looking for a solid burger, this is thee spot.

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February 6, 2015

Now Playing: Hozier

This man's voice...

*insert this gif*

Hozier has gotten lots of mainstream airplay, but he's considered an indie artist. I had heard Take Me to Church a few times on the radio before, but it wasn't until some contestants on that show The Sing-Off sang an a cappella rendition that my ears really perked up for his music. Here's a link to the video - skip to 1:00 and prepare to be impressed. I love how the smallest people seem to have the largest voices.

As for Hozier's album, it's a solid debut in my book. He wrote and produce all but one of the 17 tracks (on the deluxe version - the standard disc contains 13 tracks), and that's quite a feat for a 24-year-old.

The Beatles started the British Invasion on America's music scene, and the new wave is back. Between Hozier (by way of Ireland), Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith and the countless other female Brits working their way into our airwaves, there's clearly some real talent across the pond.

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