Merry Christmas, beautiful people!

I felt it was time for an update, but there's not really anything fun & exciting to show. December's been laid back on my end, and I must admit, it's quite nice.
I've had the most particular cravings lately.

Sunday, after my Thanksgiving hankerings were satisfied, I couldn't rest until having a Turkey Burger from my favorite spot.

Every bite was better than the last.

Then, just a few hours later, I wanted a rice & grilled chicken skillet bowl. I had the rice & chicken, but I didn't have the peppers, onions, seasonings & other goodies to jazz it up.

By the time Monday rolled around, I was already dreaming about fish Tacos. So, I headed straight to the farmers market after leaving the office, and snatched up everything I needed.
Yard House Turkey Burger & Fries
Theses days, I've been quite the little homemaker. In my opinion, whipping up a meal in your kitchen is simpler than stepping out to a different restaurant everyday. I know what I like, and I know just how to make it to my satisfaction. So, lately, that's what I've been doing, and while it's been great, the suppressed foodie deep inside me has been begging for some attention.
My last photo heavy post was about San Francisco, and unfortunately, that's the last time I properly whipped out my DSLR.

You don't know me (yet), and it might take a while for you to really feel like you do know me, but here's some stuff you should be aware of, offhand.

This past weekend, a friend & I joined a painting class at Corkscrews and Canvas.

I tried my hand in art class as a kid, like all the other kindergarteners, but it was always for a grade - never just for fun. Even with the weight of an academic evaluation looming over my head, I usually failed to produce a product I was proud to bring home to Mom. I don't even take pride in my stick figures, so why I was excited to try a painting class is beyond me.

I was, however, eager to do something different.
My time in San Francisco was well spent, but as the sun rose on Day six of  my week in the city, I realized how quickly the time flew. It seems like just yesterday I was writing about day one, and now I'm left to re-live the fun through my pictures and reflect on the adventure as it concludes.

I made sure to take in the evening view one last time, and I relished in the radiance of the city on the patio for as long as I could. Of course, the chilly temperatures and aggressive winds forced me to prematurely retreat inside, but not before capturing this lovely photo.

The glow in the distance is AT&T park.
Up-close view of the Transamerica building - a popular landmark in San Francisco

Day 4 called for another escape from the city life.

We boarded a luxury coach at 9am and ventured on down the coast to Monterey & Carmel (pronounced Car-Mélle). The views on this ride are breathtaking. The Pacific Ocean is a beautiful beast. Each tide washing ashore reminds me why I love escaping to the seaside.

The San Francisco saga continues...

Welp, July is officially over. Better known in my head as my birthmonth, it always proves to be an undeniably wonderful 31 days, and this year was no exception. A few of us girls packed our bags and hit Amelia Island for an extended weekend, and I also settled into my new place - not to mention a new job description. As it seems, July has kinda served as my New Year. It's off to a good start so far.

Ladies, if you live in Atlanta and haven't been acquainted with Sweet Samba, allow me to introduce you. 

I've been going faithfully for about a year, and I was originally attracted to their spa services, specifically their bikini waxes. Unlike other places in town, they a soft wax, which only bonds to the hair, not the skin. This is especially important for our delicate areas! The best part? It's only $35 for first timer brazilian waxers, and the prices stay extremely reasonable after that. I've seen fancy schmancy spas charge upwards $80-$100 for a full wax, which, in my opinion, is outrageous. Sweet Samba provides quality service at fair rates. I've been seen by a few different estheticians, and I'm never disappointed.

While you're waiting, check out the products in the boutique. Their homemade candles & soaps smell amazing.

There are three locations around Atlanta: Midtown, Downtown, & Vinings (my usual spot). They also have student discount available!

It seems my life has been missing some food posts. Enter: Zucca Bar & Pizzeria, coming to my rescue. It's not that I haven't been eating at any good spots. I have, but only your basic, non-blogworthy places. Zucca, however, is a small little pizzeria, worthy of note for its intimacy. The booths even have their own LCD televisions. Maybe they were designed for the couples who are prone to awkward silences.

My amazing & beautiful friend, Laura

I had the Pizza Margherita, and the classic pepperoni is pretty good too. If you're in the mood for some fancy pies, check em' out!

Today was an incredibly beautiful day in Atlanta, and I've spent it lounging around, snacking, and watching movies, when I should've been outside, taking pictures, having a picnic, and making my weekend seem more interesting than it is. ;)

Please forgive me.

I did, however, make an amazing batch of guacamole and went to Starbucks, to do some research for an article I'm workin on

That's all for now!

Cuba - Courtesy of

Warm weather means the pools are open, families are cooking out, and, for me, it's time to start drinking more water. If you live in Atlanta, this also means the festivals are coming to town.

Atlanta loves festivals.

  • Sweet Auburn Fest
  • Dogwood Festival
  • Film Festival 365
  • Renaissance Festival
  • Sweetwater Fest
  • Virginia Highland SummerFest
And the list goes on... and on...
Happy Momma's Day
After reading this morning's Mother's-Day-themed article at the Frisky, I started thinking about how often my mother has gotten it right over the years.

I'm already losing count.

Seriously, this woman came from humble beginnings; even though she doesn't have an MBA, a Ph.D. or any other special certification, I value her opinion over the highest paid professionals any day of the week.

The sad part is how long it's taken me so long to realize the extent of her wisdom. We all go through that phase, usually as a teenager (sometimes younger), where we think we know more than our parents. We start delving into some nitty gritty courses at school, and suddenly, there's nothing mom or dad can say that we don't already know!

We blossom into experts on politics, religions, relationships, money, sex (for those of who started early), sports, the environment, and everything in-between. If you were like me at that stage, you didn't dare challenge your mother. Instead, all her advice went in one ear and right back out the other.

Some things ended up sticking, and even though I didn't always understand or agree with her stance, I had no other choice but to adhere, grin, and bear it - thank GOD I did! Had I been one of those back-talking, rebellious, disrespectful youngin's you see on TV, my life would be upside down right now, and even though I'm not thoroughly happy with said life, I don't have much to complain about.

But enough of my jabbering... here are some things I'm thanking my mother for now, that I didn't fully understand in my youth.

1). Not letting me wear makeup

As soon as I started menstruating hit my teens, I was a woman - or so I thought. Part of being a woman is wearing makeup - or so the media led me to believe. While it seemed like every other girl in school was hiding her awkward adolescent phase behind layers of glittery eyeshadow and bold lipsticks, I was stuck looking like a plain Jane. My mother wouldn't have it; the most I could wear was lip gloss, and if it had the slightest tint to it, I could only wear it around the house. A few times I tried putting makeup on once I got to school each morning, but it was too much work to wipe it off each afternoon, before I got home.

I gave up. By the time I was actually old enough to wear the stuff, I didn't want to. I still don't care for it much, even on special occasions. I've come to love my face the way it is, and Mom's voice saying "you don't need to wear makeup" still rings in my head as I get ready every day.

Meanwhile, most of the girls who started wearing makeup in grade school wouldn't dare go without it now. I guess the proverb is true: train a child up in the way she should go: and when she is old, she will not depart from it [Proverbs 22:6].

Thanks, Mom, for coyly teaching me to love my unaltered, unedited, un-airbrushed face.

2). Not letting me date

This was a rough one. Everyone dates in school, and that's no exaggeration. Even if you can't get a boyfriend/girlfriend, you're still on the look-out for one!

I couldn't even go to a school dance with a boy, unless it was in a group setting, and don't even think about going somewhere after the dance. On prom night, I even wasn't allowed to play a few late games of bowling with my friends - BOWLING! (I still think that was ridiculous, Mom). There was no dating

So, I did what any desperate, hormone-driven, budding young heroine would do: I went behind her back! She held a pretty tight leash, so there wasn't much I could do, but not being allowed to date didn't stop me from having a boyfriend. However, it did stop any relationship I had from sprouting into something serious, and in the end, I never got my heart broken, I never got attached to someone who was no good for me, I never got pregnant or caught a bad rep for my promiscuity, and I always had the utmost respect from the guys in my class (even the bad boys). To this day, I still command that respect without even trying.

On another note, I now pick my relationships very carefully. Not dating as a teen helped teach me the value of a relationship. In school, girls went from one boyfriend to the next - vice versa with the boys. Sure, you had the few token couples that stayed together through the years, but for the most part, nobody truly cherished the attachments they were forming. When I attach to someone, I mean reaaaaaally attach to them, I hold on tight!

Thanks, Mom, for showing me I can't throw people away or pass them like hand-me-downs.

3). Not letting me sleep over everyone's house

A sleepover is a serious event for a young girl, but I missed out on quite a few in my day. The ones I did attend were epic, and those memories will stay with me til' I'm old & gray, but that'll be easy since there aren't that many memories for my brain to hold on to.

I only had about 3-4 friends that my mother would let me stay with, and these girls are still some of my closest pals. Even now I stay at their apartments sometimes, and outside of a select few people, I don't like staying with anyone else - stranger danger! That's right, folks, you'll never ever ever ever catch me doing the early-morning walk of shame, in my dress and heels from last night.

Thanks, Mom, for always reminding me there's no place like my own bed.

I could definitely keep this list going, but let it be with the top three.

I know it's not Mother's Day yet, but I'll be busy tending to Mom on Sunday, so I decided to post this now.

If you're reading this, and you're able to contact you Mom, tell her you love her!

This post could also be titled "Asheville - Day Three," but I decided to dedicate it to the sinfully delicious barbecue we had at 12 Bones!

We originally rode past this lil' shack on day one, and we noticed the line was outside the door. Of course, we had to see what the hype was all about, so we worked it into our itinerary and went for lunch. As you can see, the line always stretches into the parking lot, but that's because they're only open Monday through Friday, from 11am until the kitchen is dry. That's right folks, if you want a rack of ribs on the weekend, you'll have to look elsewhere! Thank God we were in town on a Tuesday.

The ribs come in four flavors: Brown Sugar Dry Rub, Nekkid Dry Rub, Blueberry Chipotle, Cheerwine, and Strawberry Jalapeno.

 I ordered a half-rack of the Brown Sugar Baby Backs, with Collards, Mashed Sweet Potatoes, and Baked Beans... It was the first time I've had pork in years, and it was like a dream.

Make sure to check em' out if you're ever in town!

© the active spirit. +