Make it rain

The toughest decision I made this weekend was whether to buy a $4 bottle of wine from Trader Joes yesterday. Four dollars for a bottle of wine? It has 'headache' written all over it, right? I bought a $5 bottle instead. It was Riesling, and it didn't give me a headache, so maybe I'll give the $4 bottle a shot later this week. 

The fact that this was the toughest decision means my weekend didn't go as planned. I was supposed to be apartment hunting, but then Saturday morning came and I made the ever-so-wise decision to climb Kennesaw Mountain again (and run back down - yes, run... the whole way back down), so I didn't feel like doing a single thing afterwards. By the time Sunday morning rolled around I was so sore that it hurt to even climb to stairs to my front door. So I avoided all stairs as much as possible, which meant I was mainly on my couch.

In other news, I found some new books in the most unlikely of places: Dollar Tree. That's usually my go-to store when I need a crossword or sudoku book for a road trip, but I was browsing the aisles last week - deciding if I should make it rain or not - and noticed they had a pretty decent collection of novels for sale. I grabbed a couple to add to my reading list, and if they're crappy, at least I only paid a dollar for them. Note: Insurgent was not a Dollar Tree purchase, unfortunately. I've been on the wait list at my public library for this book since February. Last time I checked my account, I was number 112 in the queue. Luckily Meredith bought a copy so nevermind, Atlanta Fulton Public Library System.

Tennessee Aquarium

On the way back to Atlanta last weekend, we made a little pit-stop in Chattanooga. There were a few items on other itinerary (to be written about when I finally get around to editing the photos), and the Tennessee Aquarium was one of those items. I had been once before, but I went for work and didn't get a chance to explore both buildings. There are two buildings: River Journey and Ocean Journey. The event my company planned took place in the evening time, in the River Journey building. I was impressed with just half of what was available to all the guests, and I knew I'd enjoy the Ocean Journey if I ever got the chance. Well, I finally got the chance on Labor Day, and I did, indeed, fully enjoy it.

We started in the River Journey, and this time was better than I remember. Maybe because it was the daytime and I was only there for fun, but this time around was better than the first. You start at the top and work your way down through each exhibits. In the first area, there were birds, sting rays, baby sharks and other fish you'd find in the river. After that, we made our way to the butterfly room.

(There's a bunch of photos in this post.)

Riding through the mountains

1. I have so many photos in my phone and camera to sort through, edit and post it's got my head spinning. I completely understand how people blog as their full-time job, because it can get extremely time consuming. This past weekend I went to Nashville for my family reunion, and then did some more sightseeing around Tennessee, so hundreds of photos must be processed and uploaded before I stop caring and they never see the light of the internet. Also, I spelled Tennessee incorrectly in that previous sentence, so I'm more tired than I realize.

2. The beach will always have my heart, but riding through the mountains is so stunning that is sometimes makes me question my coastal loyalties.

West Midtown Corner Tavern

I posted about this spot a couple months ago. They have bottomless mimosas on Saturdays and Sundays, the food is good and, well, that's really all we need in a good brunch spot. Between loaded nachos, fried pickles (pictured - and so flavorful you can see it), queso, french toast, a burger on a Holeman & Finch bun (still gotta get to that place), some tots (pictured) and a breakfast dish called "Silly Chicken," we ate ourselves under the table.

Pink Barre

I've been hearing about Barre classes for a couple years now. On Friday, I had a chance to take a community class at Pink Barre in Buckhead. I squeezed in some time during my lunch hour, grabbed Tierra (as seen snapping a picture in the photo directly above) and felt the burn for 55 minutes straight. People said it was tough. They were right. Those little three pound weights put a hurting on my biceps after doing pushups and planks for what felt like a solid 10 minutes straight.

Nothing but loving

I didn't get up until 9am this morning. That's later than I usually get up, but not so late that I'd be running later for anything. Some days I work from home, and some days I go into the office. Today is an office day, and I usually wait for traffic to subside and make my way across town around 10. I'm a very slow mover in the morning. No matter how many cups of coffee or green tea I've had (usually just one, because too much caffeine makes me want to crawl out of my skin), I always take longer than I'd care to admit to get ready and head out the door. I don't even know why. I don't have this elaborate makeup routine - some mascara, brow powder and concealer is all it takes. I rarely wear any noteworthy outfits or "looks" - today I'm in jeans, a striped tee and flats, and my hair is usually pulled back/up in a bun. In theory, it should take me 15-20 minutes to shower and get ready, but it can take me up to an hour and a half. An hour and a half. It's worth mentioning, however, that once I'm out the door, I'm the quickest little mover I know. I have mastered running errands in the most efficient manner possible, and some days are methodically arranged in my handy-dandy date book. Starting those days is typically the problem, and that was definitely the problem today.

I've had a breakthrough.

You know that moment you realize you might have a problem? Well, I had one of those moments this past weekend, while cleaning out my bathroom cabinet. In total, I found eight different Shea Moisture conditioners hiding around my apartment. I had even stashed a couple in a box in my linen closet. And the reason I bought so many different kinds? THE SCENTS. I usually wear my hair pulled back/up in a bun, so it's not like I need a bunch of styling products, but when I walk out the door and catch a whiff of my hair in the wind?? Uh uh, you can't tell me nothing! (In my Kanye voice).

I've had a breakthrough, though. I need not buy another hair product for the rest of the year. Now... my stash of scented candles, that's a whole different story.

We all have a choice to make.

It's wearing out my heart
The way they disregard
This is love, this is hate...
We all have a choice to make
- Losing (Tenth Avenue North)
This song has been on repeat, on all my music-playing devices, for the past couple weeks. It's not really a new song. I had heard it countless times before (thanks, 104.7 The Fish Atlanta), and yeah, I always liked it, but it was never really that deep for me. It's catchy, it has a positive message, and the choir comes in strong at the end for the win. There's plenty of songs out there like that, but this one just demanded to be blasted through every nearby speaker when I was alone. I just didn't get why.

Now here I am, like three weeks later, and I'm still not tired of the track. It got to the point where I started wondering if I was harboring some deep-rooted resentment for someone in my life. Like, dang. Do I need to forgive someone from my past and don't even realize it? Am I struggling with some unresolved daddy issues I never new I had? Did a previous boo-thang mess me up more than I comprehended at the time? Why the heck is this song stirring so much feels in all my feelings? Why is "Father, give me grace to forgive them, 'cause I feel like the one losing" stuck in my head so hard?

The views along the way

Well I guess it's high time I show up here and write something this month. August has been here for 11 days now, and I'm just now realizing I haven't posted yet. What in the world have I been doing? I'm seriously sitting in front of the computer asking myself this question, and I can't really come up with a solid answer. Let's see... I booked a weekend trip to Panama City Beach for my friend's wedding next month. I saw some fireworks as the city of Smyrna celebrated its 102nd birthday; I also tried lamb meat for the first time that day. I started a new book (The Cuckoo's Calling). I also bought some new candles during Georgia's tax free weekend - they're the big ones and my apartment now smells like a Yankee Candle store.

On Saturday, I got the chance to bike the Silver Comet Trail. It starts in Cobb County and goes all the way to the Alabama State line which is 120 miles away. Clearly we didn't make it that far, but we did manage to ride about nine miles before starting our retreat. The views along the way were absolutely stunning, and I'm definitely bringing my camera next time, because the phone photos don't do it justice, and there will definitely be a next time because it was the most fun I've had while exercising in a long time.

The stories in your head take on a life of their own.

I've been doing a lot of reading lately. A lot a lot. By that, I mean whenever someone calls or texts me in the evening asking what I'm doing, that answer is usually "I'm reading," and right now, I have a few books in rotation since I don't usually read one book at a time, unless it's one of those good stories I can't put down (see: here. and here). I read novels the same way people watch multiple television shows throughout the week, and then I return a stack of books to the library all at once. And then I go pick up life four more.

But this isn't really about reading, and it's not about Brody, even though he was all in my face for the photo above like it was supposed to be about him. The thing is, I started writing a book. Writing. A real-life book. I'm reiterating this for my own personal purposes, because I started on something that I never really thought I'd ever do in my life. Novels were something I enjoyed and never saw myself creating. A script or screenplay, definitely. But never a novel. You have to paint descriptions in a novel and give details that bring the story to life - out of thin air. Now, here I am trying to concoct characters, settings and a plot that'll stretch our a few hundred pages and all that jazz, and it's a daunting task.