The Changing Times

IMG_3397I’m so happy it’s staying lighter later… but what is up with all of this cold weather?? My sinus’s are going crazy and caused my poor little body to go into an over the counter medication over load… anyone else?

IMG_2711I’m pretty sure people at work thought I might have a problem–whatever. All I have to say… Nyquil is a god-send. Taking 2 days off work; however — not so great.

IMG_2651I am very ready for moderately cooler weather so I can spend more time with this little guy outside.

IMG_2704Life has been super busy with LOTS of travel. We took the scenic route home 2 weekends ago and it was wonderful AND we saved on the gas mileage even if it was a little bit longer. But anything is better than being on I-65 for 4 hours!

Things I’m looking forward to in the next 2 months: Birthday weekend, upcoming birthday spa appointment (gift from my parents!), boyfriends spring semester ending, an awesome May Wedding, and a getaway to Europe… in 47 days. I’m ready for everything to hurry up and get here!

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Upcoming Posts: Top 10 Spring Make-up Must Have’s from Mary Kay, The Best Chicken Salad Recipe — ever, AND a Healthy Blueberry Muffin Recipe. Keep an eye out for ’em!

PLTW

 

 

 

 

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Atlanta, GA: The Porter

A weekend ago I was in ATL. AS per usual when I’m in ATL, I get a little overwhelmed. I know that Atlanta has a lot to offer — other than the stereotypical traffic jams that lock up the interstates for hours — for me though, it’s hard to know because the city is SO big. So I called on my friend Libby (who is an ATL lover) and asked for a good place to grab a bite. And she recommended The Porter Beer Bar in little Five Points. So I’m thinking, ok great… a bar, with bar food — this’ll be great BUT I’m Hungry! Oh, was I wrong. This place was more than just a Bar.

I was able to order my new favorite drink of choice: Blanton’s on the rocks — a Single Barrel Bourbon that was introduced to me by this guy. All of the drinks are served in old jelly jars or in mason jars — similarly there lights that lined the bar were made out of mason jars with light bulbs inside. And the menu is on a clipboard — I LOVE IT. Look at what we ordered!

Yummmmm… some Goat Cheese Fritters.

Sorry for the dark image — I don’t believe in flash photography. These are BELGIAN fries and they reminded me a lot of the fries I had at the Tattooed Moose. Don’t plan on kissing anyone after you eat these because they are super strong and SUPER good. They are “herb & garlic oil [fries], [with a] charred onion mayo”. Oh I just can’t say enough about these fries. They are sooooo good. Just look at that sauce waiting for me to dip into it. YUM.

And last but not least, my favorite — Sweet Potato Ravioli with butter and sage. I love the “sweet and savory”. Does it get any better than that. Oh these were so good. I didn’t want it to end. It’s funny how I talk about food as though it is a “moment”. I love food.  Anyway… I loved this place. It was in this cool and funky neighborhood and everything was just wonderful. It felt so European. Please go visit — it’s a must. And expect a wait — that’s a must too. Visit The Porter website and even their blog. And you can find them at: 1156 Euclid Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30307.

We loved the lighting so much inside The Porter that we decided to go home and make it ourselves. Look at what my handy-man made me!!

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Today I am Thankful for: my physical fitness test. A healthy reminder in one of my classes that we can always do better. Although… 27 push up in a minute — I’m kinda proud of myself.

 

We were in search of a Lake…

Not too long ago we were Echola, AL… in search of a lake. Always a lake… So we took a few detours. We did a little off-roading, managing not to get stuck because we kept on moving. The advice given to me was to never stop, keep moving, and don’t get stuck. Words of wisdom.

So after that quick little jaunt, we kept pressing forward to find Lake Lurleen ( a lake that could only be seen by my friends iPhone). And yet we were in a place, out in the sticks of Alabama hoping to find good finds. And we did.

Who knew we would come across a board meeting? I like this… all pretense fading–nothing stuffy and abnoxious about this. Maybe more board meetings should be like this.

I love that there is a suggestion box. It makes me so happy for some reason. I should keep one by my desk.

And then, after much anticipation… WE FOUND THE LAKE. It was quite pretty. No one was around — and I mean, NO ONE. I think that it would be much more enjoyable if we had been there in the summer time. They have a “beach” and everything. And it was a state park… in the middle of nowhere. Who knew? I love roadtrips. Maybe I can go on one this weekend in honor of MLK.

p.s. I have to go back to school tomorrow. I think the snow came 3 days too early. I was hoping we would at least get to start back next tuesday. Wishful thinking… as always.

Mississippi/Alabama State Line

My best friend had her relatives from Seattle come to visit. Well, being the educator of the South that I am —  we had to cross a state line — at least one. So we did. I was charged (by my family) on a mission to deliver some very important CAKE. My brother and his Misses forgot the top tiers of their wedding cakes (his and hers). So I met my brother halfway-ish while they were visiting her family in MS over the Christmas holiday. Thus giving us a perfectly good excuse for a little Road Trip. It was so funny. All the Northerners (Seatle Folk) wanted to see a cotton field and eat corn bread. Unfortunately we didn’t see a cotton field and nor did we eat any corn bread on this trip — however; along the way I got 10 truckers to honk their horns. It was epic.

You see, I come all that way and he won’t even turn around and take a picture with me. How rude.

So there is probably something that you didn’t know about me… I. am. an. Excellent. Jumper. Except sometimes I lose my shoes.

Oh how I love this state. And yes, Alabama, you are beautiful!

A gentle reminder to us all. I was trying to wave at the locals… but they just wouldn’t wave back. Again, How rude!

Nothin’s better than an ice cold condensatin’ Pepsi… unless it’s a Coke. Some old wall art that can be found around Reform or Gordo, AL… I can never remember which one. Oh well.

Photos are compliments of VS.

Long Beach, MS: Darwell’s Café

So there is this awesome cafe that my dad took me to when went and visited Gulfport, MS. I think it’s actually located in Long Beach — but that’s neither here nor there… He told me that this is the local hot spot and they serve the best food… EVER. And guess what ?? They have even been on Diner’s, Drive-In’s, and Dive’s.

The Place: Darwell’s Cafe

The Mission: To serve Bad Ass food to all who seek it.

The Menu: see below

Darwell's Cafe Menu

I never saw this menu when I walked in the door. I just saw a bunch of things on old-school neon colored Poster Board.

So we ordered our food, (which you’ll see a bit later) and then we go to get our drinks. And who serves them up? None other than Young Darwell, himself. My dad gets his typical Styrofoam cup; however, for all of the women who come in get their very own personalized cup that has been drawn on by Papa Darwell — who hangs out at this hotspot as well.  How cool is that? Oh, and this is the best part… they don’t have Rootbeer on “tap” so they serve it ice cold out of the can. Darwell told me that I could have as many as I wanted AND that I could even take 1 or 2 for the road when we left. Ahhhhhh, I love this place.

AAC Darwell CupsYep, you have to be jealous.

AAC Blackened Dish

My dad ordered the shrimp, crabmeat, and blackened beeftips. It was a special and maybe one of the best dishes I have ever had. I, typically, don’t order anything blackened because all too often chef’s seemingly think that blackened means burning whatever it is that you are cooking. Well well well. Not at Darwell’s. The beef was absolutely de-vine and it was seasoned to perfection (Oh, Mr. Darwell — tell me your secrets). The crab meat was perfectly tender and the shrimp was literally to die for. YUM.

AAC Cheeseburger Club Sandwich

This my friends is a Cheeseburger Club Sandwich. I, unknowingly, didn’t go with delicious seafood but went with something a bit unusual. A Cheeseburger Club Sandwich. It had grilled sliced ham and lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, maybe some bacon (I don’t remember) and a cheeseburger, of course. I was so delighfully surprised. Now, I know, that the best burger is an Awesome Burger. See this post. But this has to be a very very close second. Oh, it was so good. My dad and I split our meals so that we could share … somewhat equally — he’s a good sharer. I. Am. Not.

The atmosphere is great. They come and find you when your food is ready. It’s both indoors and outdoors. We ate indoors. But in both places you’ll find your share of really great Kitche Artwork. And outside you’ll see some sign that were left over from when Hurricane Katrina passed through Long Beach, MS.

AAC Darwell's Indoors

AAC Darwell's Outdoors

Ok now a video that you will just want to see so that you can go down to Darwell’s with more than just my word. Let’s go with someone famous… like Guy Fieri. You have to believe him, because I say so.

I guess Anthony Bourdain said it right —  and these guys listened. A big thank you to Darwell’s from me and my Pop’s. It was lovely. Check them out here!!

House on the Hill

On my most recent trip to the Farm in Tennessee, I noticed for the second time that there is a beautiful cabin on a hill. And it’s for SALE. It must be mine. For that reason, I will not tell you where it is 🙂

This is part of the beautiful landscape that you see as you make your way up the drive. This is so perfect.

This is the view looking back towards the drive once you’ve arrived on top of the hill. On the right, is the storage shed.

And this is the beautiful Cabin that sits atop the wonderful hill. There is a man made lake at the bottom where the first picture was taken and my boyfriend has already decided where a bike course could run where we can do flips off of ramps into the lake and then build a ski lift to take us back to the top of the hill. I’m sure our neighbors would love us. Oh yes, we live live’s of adventure and ingenuity 🙂 And then on the other side of the cabin there is a fire pit made out of rocks and seats made out of rocks. Ohhhh, I love this house.

Here is the view as you leave the cabin down the drive. Isn’t it perfect? It would be the most perfect graduation present ever! Wishful thinking, right?

Here is a pic of me and my favorite person at the Christmas Tea after the hunt. We were there with all of the riders. Remember this post? It was really cool and they were all so nice. AND there was mistletoe everywhere-thankfully, I had my special someone! I’m sure our wonderful host had something to do with that! I love it up there, hence the reason why I must have that beautiful cabin.

 

Atlanta, GA : The Varsity

There are so many wonderful things going on in the “Dirty Dirty” aka Atlanta. But one of the most touristy and best things in Atlanta has to be–without a doubt–The Varsity. A. They have awesome fast food B. You can pull up and order your food to a bellhop (or whatever you might call them) — cash only C. They have Coke products (lately I’ve noticed along the East Coast specifically in the Carolinas; their love for Pepsi Products — gross) D. They yell at you when you don’t order quickly enough E. They have orange drink aka “Frosted Orange” and F. They have CHILLI DOGS!!! What more could a girl ask for??

Drive-In

Here’s the Menu for all of those inquiring minds out there.

Yummy Yum

And then the Money Shot…

Oh so Beautiful.

For more information on The Varsity, check out their website here. Y’all have a great day.

Montreat, NC

Montreat, NC

I was told that when you go to Montreat you have to take a very stereotypical picture from inside of the car looking at the entrance…. so here ya go! Montreat is this really cool community just outside of Asheville. Montreat is best known for the Montreat Conference Center and Montreat College as well as its association with the presbyterian church. Well, we weren’t there for any of that — we were there for the hiking! We decided that we would hike Graybeard. See map below.

Graybeard Trail in Blue

If you decide to do this trail bring lots of water and know that you are going to be hiking for 7.5 miles… uphill — both ways 🙂 Hiking Poles are probably a good idea as well. It’s really an amazing trail. Parts of Montreat are said to be classified as Rainforest. I believe it; when you first enter the trail you can feel the cool humidity and it smells damp in a refreshing way — odd, I know. Along the trail, you follow a creek almost the whole way up to the top and you could see rock sculptures and places to sit and picnic. The water tasted AMAZING. Here are some pics from the trip.

Along the Trail

My Favorite.

Midnight Hole, NC

Midnight Hole, NC

Midnight Hole, North Carolina has to be one of my favorite places in the whole wide world. Its pretty amazing. To get to Midnight Hole you have to go through the Smokies (well, it’s in the Smokies) and its an amazing drive full of mountains and little radio reception. You’ll almost miss the exit so watch out. As a side note, I believe the AT passes through this site. Cool, huh?

Its about a 2 mile hike to get to Midnight Hole and when you get there you’ll think, “wow this is kinda cool” but then you’ll get in the water… its the clearest, coldest, sweetest water I have ever been in contact with—EVER.

We decided that when we went we wouldn’t fully submerge our bodies until we actually jumped off the big rock. Well a. that’s difficult (I’m 5′-2″), b. due to being vertically challenged, climbing onto the rock even with the help of a rope was quite difficult and took some serious contemplation and jumping c. it was still freakin’ awesome.

It was really exciting. It’s not too high up… maybe 15 feet. Maybe less, maybe more. And we just went for it. We ran off the top and just jumped in… The water was sooo cold, it knocked the breath out of me. And you could potentially go down a good 15 feet or more in the water. It felt like you just jumped into a pool of ice water. I came up gasping for air because I was so surprised by the waters temperature. We had just hiked the 2 miles to get there, it was the middle of summer with temperatures easily in the 90s (although on the trail it was probably low 80s), and we had a good sweat going… and then, the next thing I know I have goose bumps and I’m shaking I’m so cold. It was so amazing. If you have the opportunity you have to go. Some of the more brave kids were doing flips into the water… I’ll save that for another day 🙂

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Pics are compliments of NR and AC

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