December 30, 2015

Resolutions Are Being Made.


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Well. It's that time of year again. All the 2015 roundups are in full swing on social media, and new resolutions are being made. I checked in with my resolutions from last year, and I stuck to 3 out of 5: I learned to put down the tweezers (although I had an unfortunate threading experience a few months back, so now I'm re-growing the brows out. AGAIN.), I started drinking way, way, wayyy more water (much of this has been seltzer water, but still), and I've gotten really good at responding to to texts/voicemails in a more timely manner. 

Maybe if I whittle the list down to 3 intentions this year, I'll fare better this time around. Let's see...

December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas, Baby.


Merry Christmas Eve!

I went to my first semi-formal Christmas party ever this past weekend. It was hosted by Passion City at the Tabernacle in downtown Atlanta, and my would-be date had to work, so I flew solo. That's nothing new for me, I've always been a lone ranger of sorts. The hardest part was not being able to hit the dance floor. I'm rarely in the mood to dance a parties, but with a band as good as The City Heat, I really felt like I was missing out! They played all the soulful classics: Otis Redding's Merry Christmas Baby, Donny Hathaway's This Christmas, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's Ain't No Mountain High Enough... Whew! I'm in the mood to bust a move just thinking about it, and every member of the band sounded amazing - the trumpet player, the sax player, both bass players, the drummer, the keyboard player, and all three lead singers who took turns in the spotlight.

December 21, 2015

Oy!


Today marks the last day of Autumn, 2015. Back in October, I went to brunch with my friend Laura and made it my mission to do brunch more often this season. Since then, I've been to Another Broken Egg (did not blog - so in theory, it did not actually happen) (?), Waffle House (does this one really count?) Le Petit Marche, and lastly, Oy! on this past Saturday

December 16, 2015

My Favorite White Barn Christmas Candles


White Barn, Bath and Body Works' candle label, stepped up it's game recently. They now have their own store in a couple malls around metro Atlanta, and it's quite the festive frenzy. It's a candle bonanza! There are so many scents to choose from. I went in looking for something different but came out empty handed for a few reasons: after like five minutes, all the fragrances start to blend into one big confusing aroma, and there are many more food-scented varieties then I remember (pumpkin, vanilla, apple pie, etc.) - those aren't exactly my cup of tea (read: jar of wax).

So, I'll be sticking with my old faithfuls from now on. For anyone else out there who loves a good scented candle this time of year but doesn't have the patience to sniff around for 30 minutes, let me save your sinuses by offering my suggestions. Here are my favorite White Barn Christmas candles.

December 14, 2015

Internet Thoughts

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1. If I see one more "natural" makeup tutorial that uses 15+ makeup products, I'm... probably going to watch it anyway but continue to be irritated.
2. I've recently started exploring the world of YouTube, and by exploring I mean actually subscribing to channels, and I'm know I'm super late to this party, but it's a major time suck, so maybe that's why I never subscribed to any channels before.
3. Also, YouTube keeps forcing me to upgrade my account to Google Plus if I want to comment on a video. This means I have been unable to comment on any videos.

December 7, 2015

Le Petit Marché


So here's the low-down on Le Petit Marché: It's tucked away in East Atlanta's Kirkwood neighborhood. People rave about this place. Out of 400+ reviews on Yelp, it currently has 4.5 out of 5 stars, and it's a (black) family-owned establishment. Why I haven't been before 2015 is beyond me, but after seeing it featured on both Beth's and Sheriden's blog, I had to go.

December 3, 2015

Making the Non-Toxic Switch

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A few days ago, Meredith came over (like she frequently does) and Raven excitment-peed all over the dining room floor (like she frequently does)(but only when she's super excited to see someone). I have no clue how to break her excitement-pee tendencies. I thought she would have grown out of it by now, but maybe she just needs more time? In any case, I keep lots of cleaning product handy. At one point, I had multiple bottles of enzyme cleaner for the carpeted areas of the apartment.

As Meredith and I were mopping up her "little" puddle, she complimented the smell of the products we were using and asked what kind they were. Cue my moment to share my enlightenment. Why, yes! They do smell great, and they're non-toxic!

I recently watched a documentary on Netflix titled The Human Experiment (briefly mentioned on this Netflix round-up post). Ten minutes into the film I was hooked, which isn't necessarily a huge feat. People sharing their honest and personal stories always, always reels me in. You could be telling me about your ingrown toenail, but if it's compelling and dramatic enough I will surely listen.

But back to the documentary. By the time the credits rolled, I decided I was making the non-toxic switch, and by "I" I mean we, and by we I mean anyone who lives in or visits my home.

Listen, Linda. HONEY*.

November 27, 2015

Keep Things Cohesive

Happy Thanksgiving! Well, day after Thanksgiving... I spent most of the day on the couch with the pup (who is officially one year old this month - yikes!), updating my tumblr theme, which took way longer than I hoped/expected, but now it's a beautifully responsive extension of this blog, and you should definitely follow me if you haven't already. Yes, that's a shameless plug, and I look forward to following you back. :)

In the afternoon, I got out for a few hours to chill with Mom and visit J at the firehouse. It sucks that he had to work on our first Thanksgiving as a married couple, and it sucks that I wasn't able to be with a whole bunch of family members like most other people, but I guess every year can't be family-filled and picture perfect. It would've been really nice to have some sweet potato pie, though.

November 18, 2015

iPhone Photo Editing Apps You Maybe Haven't Tried


I've clicked through on many a blog post titled "how I edit my iPhone photos," or something along those lines, expecting to read about an app I hadn't tried before, only to be disappointed. I like playing with different tools to make a basic phone photo pop, but lately, every one of these posts I read offers the same handful of suggestions. I'm looking at you, VSCO. I started wondering why people didn't post about less-popular options, and then I decided maybe I should go ahead and actually make my own post, because maybe someone else out there is looking for shiny new options.

I do use VSCO every now and then, but it's not my favorite. I don't have a favorite. I use a handful of different apps interchangeably. If Afterlight (another popular option that works well but will not appear on this list because it's popular) isn't setting the mood I'm looking for, I'll try the Photoshop app. If that's not working I'll play with Instagram's editing tools, and so on and so forth. The list below is in no particular order, and it is small but mighty. While all options offer preset filters, none are necessarily better than the other. They're just different. Oh, and they're all FREE (!).

Note: the snaps below are rough examples of the various editing options within each application.Heavy emphasis on the word rough. Even heavier emphasis on the word various. (direct links to the iTunes product pages are marked with an 'x')

November 16, 2015

Remember to Rest

My past couple weekends have been spent in super good company. Last Saturday I met up with the lovely Beth from The City Dweller. She has a great blog that puts a spotlight on Atlanta and all it's glory, and after like a year of following each other we were finally able to meet in person. More meet-ups are sure to come!

This past Saturday, on the other hand, was mainly spent alone, and it was WONDERFUL. Cue a post about me, me, me, and how great it was to some things for myself.

November 10, 2015

Michigan in the Fall


I had forgotten how much I love Michigan in the fall. I've talked about it over and over again, with many people throughout the years, but it's not the same as experiencing it for the first time in a while. The day of my brother's wedding was a brisk 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit. There were moments when the wind really whipped through my leather jacket, but it felt so disrespectfully good to be back in my element. I'm one of those people who loves and embraces the cold. I crank the A/C on summer evenings so I can snuggle in cozy blankets, and I hardly touch the heat during the winter. Maybe growing up in the Midwest is to blame, because I remember getting excited as a kid when the forecast showed anything over 50 degrees. Ha!

November 9, 2015

Monday Motivation

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I woke up an hour late this morning and am currently sipping lukewarm coffee, so I need a little motivation today. In hopes of turning this rainy Monday into something worth writing about, I'm going to set and meet (maybe) a few goals.

  • Start a new book
  • Edit camera photos from my trip home
  • Call my brother and see how his honeymoon went

If you're reading this I hope you have a fantastic Monday. Go make a difference.
P.S. Yay for a new blog design! Send all your good vibes to Gabriela for being so helpful and accommodating to all my design questions and requests.





November 6, 2015

Appreciating Miley Cyrus



If you would've told me that one day I'd be respecting and appreciating Miley Cyrus for her music during her Hannah Montana days, I'd say yep, you're probably right. If you had said the same thing after that infamous VMA performance, I would've said BOY IF YOU DON'T. I was a grown-woman fan of Hannah Montana, the TV series. My mom and I could watch back to back episodes on the Disney channel, and sing along to the theme song. Hashtag no shame. It's common pop culture knowledge that things have changed for Ms. Cyrus since her wholesome days, but one thing that apparently hasn't changed is the quality of her singing voice. A few weeks ago, I fell down the rabbit hole of the internet, and came across some older videos of Miley's Dolly Parton covers. One day I had these two on repeat (mainly Jolene).

October 28, 2015

Share the Goodness

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I wrote a post a while back on Netflix titles that turned out to be such a pleasant surprise. I have more to share, but I also wanted to throw in some recent book titles and TV shows that have treated my brain well lately. So I'm slamming them together in one, big master post. Let's go.

October 23, 2015

Flashback Friday

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"I’ve been looking at some places to move on Zillow, and i’m shocked at how reasonable the rates are for buying a house these days. The price of a monthly mortgage payment would be cheaper than paying rent in some instances, and I’d get wayyyy more space. But I really don’t want to move forward buying a house alone, because what about stuff like plumbing and yardwork, etc… I’d need a man around permanently for stuff like that. 
I think they call them 'husbands.'"


I have a personal journal that I've recently started updating again. I used to write everyday, but then my father passed, and I lost one of my closest friends to a car accident, and I was feeling stalled in my career, so I unintentionally fell back. Lately I've been doing more regular writing again, so I went back and read a few posts from my single days and came across the little gem above. It made me laugh out loud, so I decided to do a little written Flashback Friday here.

I used to have multiple diaries in elementary school, and it's so much fun to go back and read all the K-12 drama, before life got all serious, before taxes and rent payments and stuff. Now I just keep a private tumblr account for the times I feel like spewing a bit of random word vomit. It's convenient because I can just pull out my phone anywhere and start documenting my thoughts, but every time there's news of a major internet hack, I wonder what would happen if Tumblr was targeted and all the private accounts were publicized. Then my minuscule first-world problems would be on display for anyone who wants to see. So maybe I should go back to an old-fashion, well-bound notebook. 

Does anyone else still keep a journal somewhere? 




October 20, 2015

My Brother's Wedding




Here are some gorgeous views of the Detroit River to start this post. It's a long one, and I'm sharing how I ended up in the back of a cop car on Friday evening (spoiler alert: I was NOT under arrest).

October 15, 2015

Hot yoga is a thing.



I took a few photos of my favorite yoga studio last week. I was in a rush, since class was starting soon, and I was trying to snap away before anyone stepped into the frame. This means all but one picture came out blurry. So there's only one good picture for me to share here, but oh well. If you've seen one yoga studio, you've seen them all. Right?

October 12, 2015

Random Snaps from This Weekend.


October 5, 2015

Bike Riding.





You know what's much more difficult to do as an adult than it was as a kid? Bike riding. When I was growing up, I could spend hours riding around my neighborhood, up and down the steepest of hills, with ease. I haven't owned a bicycle since I was about 11 years old, and lately I've had the itch to buy one. So, on a random Monday evening, I did. This past weekend was rainy and overcast, but I still wanted to go for a proper ride on the Silver Comet Trail. Even with the wet and muddy terrain, it was fun.

September 29, 2015

In the spirit of learning.




"I am learning all the time. The tombstone will be my diploma." - Eartha Kitt
Forgive me if this post is all over the place, but I've got some writing to get to for work, but I'm stalled until I deliver this thought baby currently gestating in my mind. I'm feeling inspired lately. And that's significant for me. This past year or so has been a whirlwind. It's been full of loss, life, and changes of all sorts. Like life tends to do, it threw me off balance, and it had my drive and creativity in a state of limbo. There's always been a bunch of dreams floating around in my heart, just like in your heart, but I think the tough part is figuring out how to navigate the path you're on so you merge with the path you seek.

The above quote from Ms. Kitt makes me think about how nobody ever, ever, has it all figured out. Our role models, mentors, spiritual leaders... they might not have their life figured out any more than the next person, and that's okay. Even if you do think you have things figured out, chances are something will happen to flip that upside down, too. And that's okay. Everybody is always learning. I learn more about myself everyday, and things are changing everyday, which means there will always be new things to learn.

And so, in the spirit of learning, I'm checking out these print resources - thought I'd share :)

  • Brand Famous, by Linzi Boyd - released on my birthday, last year, so kudos to the publisher for that one.
  • My So-Called Freelance Life, by Michelle Goodman - an oldie by modern standards, but still very much a goodie. I read it fresh out of college, and have recently rediscovered its goodness.
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo - this woman has basically written all my and my mother's tidying rules out in prose format, but apparently she's explained it in a way that's revolutionary for so many people, in which case I'm spreading the love.



September 28, 2015

Autumn Brunches




There was a time in my life where I looooooved summer. I'm a July baby, and all year I waited, looked forward to and longed for summer. I would take hot, humid days and warm, thick nights over any other season. Somewhere along the line I got bit by the autumn love bug, and I've never looked back. 
This past Saturday was a cloudy and rainy one. It drizzled off and on all day, and as I pulled up to The Chicken and The Egg for brunch with Laura, I thought to myself, God, this is such a beautiful day. It really was. The cool weather, the puddles of water along the sidewalks, the bright yet overcast skies... I had googly eyes for all of it. All of it! Laura and I had such a good time catching up over bottomless mimosas and fried chicken with vanilla cinnamon french toast. I ate every, single bite, and I was full for the rest of the day. I came home, took a nap, cuddled and played with the pup for a bit (she doesn't like the rain, even if it's just sprinkling, so going for a walk was out of the question), and headed down the road to Meredith's house so we could catch up on some tv shows. 
Autumn brunches should will happen more often in my world.


September 25, 2015

A variety of thoughts.




I'm taking a page out of Tierra's book (blog) and dropping a variety of thoughts here today.

September 21, 2015

Red Brick Brewing




Date night is usually every other Friday night for us, and we've started alternating who does the planning and making the arrangements. This past Friday, it was my turn, and I was completely stumped for ideas. Then I remembered a blog post from Beth I saved in my handy-dandy pocket app a few months back. Beth is an avid explorer of Atlanta (she walked the entire beltline in one day - all 19 miles!), and her 65 Date Ideas in Atlanta came to the rescue.
I looked up some brewery tour options around town and settled on Red Brick Brewing as our first stop (dinner at Bocado came next, but that's another post for another day). Their building is buried deep in the Defoors Hills neighborhood of Northwest Atlanta, and the location is perfect. Outside they have games of cornhole going, barbecue grilling, a live band playing, and picnic tables around the front entrance for everyone to chill and enjoy the atmosphere. 
The inside is full of character, and for only $12, you get a tour, 6 "tasting" tickets (their tasting sizes equate to a full glass of beer) (needless to say we failed to use all 6 tickets) (but we'll be back), and a take-home souvenir glass.

September 18, 2015

Randomly curated content.

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I'm going to get straight to the point this morning. I have some links to share. Here's some randomly curated content that i've really enjoyed lately, and I thought I'd better not keep the goodness to myself. (links are attached to each '[x]' below)

September 9, 2015

Atlanta on Labor Day



Note to self: if you want to ride bikes around Atlanta on Labor Day, you better have your own bike. Most of the rental places will close for the holiday, and the one that is open (and perfectly situated along the Beltline, might I add...) will be "all rented out" by the time you call them at 1pm. You'll then be stuck looking for a cookout or random event to attend. 
Another note to self: if you want to drop the dog off at daycare during Labor Day Weekend, remember that everyone else will have the same idea. This means you'll need to make an appointment ahead of time. Otherwise you'll be stuck with a hyperactive beast who needs a 4-mile walk just to chill out. Also, you'll be the person stuck taking her for that walk. If you're lucky, a friend will tag along. 
(Thanks, Meredith!)
 


September 4, 2015

Mornings are bomb.





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There's this episode of How I Met Your Mother that discuss something called the The Mermaid Theory (Season 6: Episode 11, for those of you watching on Netflix at home). The theory states that back in the day, sailors used to go so long without female contact, that they'd start picturing manatees as mermaids while on the open seas. As it turns out, the male psyche hasn't evolved much since then, so this continues to happen in present day. Only, instead of sailors, it's the average joe who works a job where he doesn't get much female interaction, except for maybe his secretary. He's not attracted to his secretary for a variety of reasons; ultimately she's probably just not his type. She's a manatee. However, after so much time passes, and he's spent 40 hours a week around this woman for month after month, year after year, eventually she starts becoming more and more attractive. She turns into a mermaid. I may not be explaining this well enough, but it (surprisingly) makes sense the way the screenwriters broke it down on the show.

The point of that anecdote is to explain my feelings about mornings.

August 29, 2015

Thoughts on married life thus far

Listen. 

I'm all over the place with things I've been wanting to post in this space. I'm adjusting to a new job, which means I'm adjusting to a new schedule and a new commute, which means I'm working on ways to find time to sit down and get all my thoughts out on this screen. Hopefully that'll happen soon. I have a whole list of drafts that are just waiting to be typed up. 

In the meantime, I thought I'd take today to share my thoughts on married life thus far. Sounds fun, right? It is... for the most part.

August 12, 2015

Poor Calvin's.


I've been meaning to post about Poor Calvin's for a while now, but the pictures I took were snapped quickly (honestly, they don't do the food justice), in hopes of not ruining my date night with Meredith a while back. She randomly asked if I wanted to go to dinner one night (yes, she's that awesome of a friend), and since it's me, of course I said 'yes!' I'm looking for a way to return that favor soon, because I owe her big. BIG. This dinner was amaaaazing. Together we ordered and shared the Fried Chicken, Lobster Mac n' Cheese, Grilled Asparagus and Pad Thai Tiger Shrimp. Oh, and there was a massive slice of cake for dessert (not pictured). It's not on the menu, and I can't remember the name, so I almost feel like there's no point in mentioning it, but it was too good to skip over. So there ya' have it.

August 3, 2015

A bookworm's fantasy.



Last Saturday was made up of errand-running, house-cleaning, grocery shopping and all that jazz. Last Sunday, on the other hand, was plucked straight from a bookworm's fantasy: book club. Our monthly bookclub meeting usually takes place in someone's home, but this month, we took advantage of clear skies and the fact that Piedmont Park didn't have some sort of event going on - a rarity on summer weekends.
So, we gathered. On blankets. In the shade. On a breezy July afternoon. We talked lit a couple candles, talked about the book, ate snacks, sipped our drinks, laughed and let the conversation flow in every which direction. It was nice. As for Paper Towns, it won't go on my list of recommendations; the storyline fell flat halfway through, and I literally rolled my eyes at the ending. From what I've heard, the movie adaptation followed suit, so hopefully we'll jump into something better for our next read.


July 29, 2015

Happy birthday, J!





Lately I'm learning it's the small details that make all the difference. For example, today is my husband's 30th birthday (insert internal screams of joy here), and he wasn't too excited. He didn't want a big party. He didn't want to go out somewhere special. He didn't want to make a big deal in general. But. When the man you love has a milestone birthday coming up, you still want to make it special.  That might mean leaving a very heartfelt birthday card on the coffee table for him to see when he gets home from work, then taking him to dinner for his favorite burger around Atlanta at Holeman and Finch, then taking him for dessert at Coldstone, then coming home and letting him play his new Batman game for the rest of the evening while you walk the dog, make lunches for the next day, and get coffee ready for the morning wake-up call.

July 27, 2015

Goals for the week.




Here are photos of my new favorite courtyard for rest and relaxation, a large advertisement for Dollar Tree's 3oz. ribeye steak (obviously worth noting - obviously), and the pizza I devoured on a recent date night at Marietta Pizza Co. I have many, many more photos to share, and one day (hopefully this week), I'll conquer that task.
Today, I'm stepping to up to the plate with my goals for the week:
  • Make J's birthday special. It's this Wednesday. He's not very excited, but I'm determined to find a way to make him show some enthusiasm.
  • Configure our August budget.
  • Call my brother back. He called on my birthday, later in the evening. I was sleep. I've been a terrible sister if we're judging by my callback time.


July 14, 2015

A successful getaway.




On my way to Amelia Island, Florida a couple weeks ago, I had big plans to take lots of beach pictures for my own personal enjoyment and for when I needed to mentally escape to the ocean later on throughout the year. Meredith and I get a group together and take this trip annually. It's always something to look forward to on/around my birthday/4th of July weekend. Today, only a little over a week later, I found myself needing that mental escape, and unfortunately, I didn't have many pictures to run to! I hardly took any, and for that, I am now slapping myself on the wrist. Our little vacation was so relaxing that I rarely brought my phone out to play, let alone my camera.

I guess that means it was a successful getaway. I'll just have to re-live those moments on this page, in a different way: with words.

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