Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Athens - UF vs. UGA Basketball

Last weekend we finally went to Athens for the first time! Since the FL/GA football game is always in Jacksonville, we had never been to Athens. We've been wanting to go ever since we moved to Atlanta, especially since it's only an hour away and we love visiting other college campuses. Our football seasons haven't lined up so that we could make it for a football game, so last fall we decided that we would go to the FL/GA basketball game since it was on a Saturday this year.

We went with a bunch of friends from Atlanta - a good mixed crowd of both Florida and Georgia alum. We got there in time for lunch at the Transmetropolitan to grab some pizza and a few beers before the game. After lunch, they gave us a mini-tour through campus on our way to the arena. We passed the football stadium, and since it's an open stadium with a view from the passenger bridge, we got to check it out - just in case we don't ever make it for an actual game. I was not too impressed. Ben Hill Griffin is hands-down superior.




We got to the arena just before tip-off. Our seats weren't great but we got free tickets so I'm not complaining! Sadly we lost - again (which seems to be a theme for us recently). It was a terrible, pathetic game, and we never even had the lead. In fact, we were losing 2-0 before the game even started since Prather got a technical foul for dunking during warm-ups. Seriously?? It was pretty much all downhill from there. Good thing none of us are huge basketball fans, so it didn't ruin the fun that night...but no one likes to watch their team lose.



After the game we had dinner at Last Resort Grill and then headed out to the bars.

the whole gang

We did a bar crawl through Athens: Trappeze, Magnolia's, Bourbon Street, 80s bar and 90s bar - the signs for these last two cracked me up.....






We definitely felt old. Awkwardly old, though - definitely not yet old enough to be parents of students, but we are clearly not students anymore. I'm pretty sure that when we went to the 80s bar, we were the only people there who were actually born in the 80s.  We embraced it and had a blast! I only took a few pictures on my phone from the night. Too many former cameras of mine have died in bars so I don't even bother trying anymore.






I would say Athens is pretty similar to Gainesville. Of course I am biased, but I think our campus is better and prettier :) I will admit that their bar scene/setup is better - no split between downtown and university (or "midtown" as the kids these days call it). Literally street after street of bars, and none of them were crowded since there are so many. And just like Gainesville, you can get some kind of drink for just a dollar at any bar. It was by far our cheapest Gator loss yet! And true to our theme, despite the loss we had an awesome time. We will definitely be going back to Athens - hopefully for a WIN!  Until then, we'll just keep going to games and having fun and hoping that one of these days our Gators will turn around for us.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Valentine's Dates


For as long as I can remember, we have celebrated valentine's day by going out to dinner. This year we had dinner reservations as usual, but Bo got shipped off to Chicago last week for work so we had to reschedule for the following weekend.

So instead, I spent a romantic evening with Kim and her roommates and their pugs. We wore sweats, ordered Chinese delivery, drank champagne and wine, and watched Ides of March. My kind of a date! Especially since her roommates have an awesome basement theater, which is now a new "must" for my "future home".



120 inch TV...seriously insane

all the lovin' i got on valentine's day ;)


Meanwhile, Bo had made plans to meet up with my friend Adrienne in Chicago and sadly had to cancel his valentine's day plans once again since he had to work late that night. So they had dinner the next night and from what I heard they had a great time :)




Even though Bo and I weren't together - we were still with people who we love. And we got to celebrate Valentine's Day again on Saturday when he was back in town.  We spent the afternoon at the High Museum for the Picasso to Warhol exhibit, which we had been meaning to go to for the past month or so. And since we were there we also checked out the Art of Golf exhibit, which I enjoyed a lot more than I was expecting.  Highly recommended for those of you here in Atlanta - and I am not even much of a museum person.





Later that night we went to Il Localino for dinner. As with all other celebrations, we picked a restaurant we had never been to. It's a very small Italian restaurant nearby in the Highlands/Inman Park/Old Fourth Ward area. We were a little turned off at first, because there is no hostess table (even though we had reservations), and the bar/waiting area is in the back and is extremely small and in the way of the kitchen. It was really crowded, but once we were (finally) seated, it was well worth the wait and the food was incredible. As far as Italian restaurants in Atlanta go, we ranked it second place only to Veni Vidi Vici. Although this was not your typical romantical-type setting, which suited us just find. Much to our surprise, towards the end of the night they turned on some smoke and a few disco balls, started playing disco music, and passed around random hats for everyone to wear. It was really strange, but it seemed like this was a normal thing there (??) so we just went with it. We made friends with our waiter and he gave us complimentary limoncello (love!). Cheers!







I'm sure that I am in the minority female population by saying this... but as much as we love holidays and celebrations, Valentine's Day is by far our least favorite holiday. I'm not a hater. Don't get me wrong - I love love. But we most definitely do not make a big deal of it. We deliberately try to avoid most things that are "typical" or "cliche" - which is just about everything that this holiday is to us. And a lot of our practical perspective on this holiday stems from the fact that we started dating in high school. With Bo's birthday in November, Christmas in December, and my birthday in January, our measly allowances were running pretty low by the time Valentine's Day rolled around in February. So he would order me the $1 carnation through our high school and that was about it. So really, not too different from any other day. And not much has changed since then. We don't do gifts or flowers or even cards. (Bo still insists that he won't give me flowers for Valentine's day unless someone offers him $1 flowers and will also deliver them to me! To my knowledge, this service only exists in high school and not in the real world.) While I do like gifts and cards, I am not really a flower-kind-of-girl (true story: when we went to the florist for our wedding, I just told them I wanted yellow flowers). Because 1) they tend to die in my house, so we have fake plants in our home, and 2) dang, they are expensive! and as the CFO of my household I cannot justify buying stuff like that just because you are "supposed to" show and say how much we love each other, when that is something we do every day anyway. I prefer the gifts/flowers/cards any other day of the year when it is a genuine sign of affection, and not forced upon us by an overly-commercialized holiday. You know, on days when people do not feel compelled to post lovey-dovey, mushy-gushy facebook posts - gag. I thought my friend Susan said it best on Valentine's Day - "Tell the people you love how you feel everyday. Today is just another day to say I love you. It's no different from yesterday or tomorrow." <3



Saturday, February 18, 2012

Winter Beer Carnival

Last weekend my sister Leslie, her boyfriend Mike, and her friend Liz, came to visit us in Atlanta. They got in town Friday evening so we headed straight to dinner with a few other friends. I know their love for barbeque so we took them to Fox Brothers, which is by far our favorite BBQ place here.



After dinner we went back to our house for a round of power hour (this video is one of our favorites to play), several games, and many beers.


 



Saturday we went to the Winter Beer Carnival in Atlantic Station. It's basically your typical beer fest, but with carnival games to play! Words cannot describe just how freezing cold and windy it was - not ideal for us Floridians. We've had unseasonably warm weather the past few weeks, until Friday morning when I checked the weather and heard there was an "arctic blast" coming through Atlanta - just for the weekend, of course. Our only saving grace was that there was a nice big tent at the carnival and a wall along one side of it, so we were a little less cold under there. A lot of the vendors ran out of beer (I think because we were all huddled under the main tent!) and since we were SO cold, we didn't stay the entire time. But I'd still say we got our money's worth in a few hours!


sisters!

me & Shara

Tastes and smells just like liquid fruit loops....not so good, actually.


 
Leslie & Mike

Liz, me, and Leslie


Liz & Leslie




Afterward, we took a cab to dinner at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, Across the Street. You really only need one monster margarita there, but the guys also had jalapeno tequila shots (eek).










We spent the rest of the night back at our house playing (you guessed it!) more games! For the record, Mike was the ultimate champion of Chutes & Ladders, with his character who he named "Ping". It was a crazy night. I'll leave it at that :)

the game shelf


We had lunch at George's on Sunday before they took off. We were sad to see them go - we always have such a great time when they are here!! Thanks for a great visit!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Waiting

Sorry, Molly, but you're going to be waiting a long time. Bo won't be home until Thursday night.


Friday, February 10, 2012

Meal Planning Success

Bo and I have never been good about meal planning. It didn't make sense to even attempt it with our old jobs since I traveled so much and even when I was in town, a majority of our meals were (sadly) take-out in the office. Even now with Bo's new job, he travels quite a lot, but it's always last minute so we never know if he will actually be in town all week, which makes it rather difficult to plan anything. It doesn't help that Bo likes going to Publix and sees nothing wrong with us going 4-5 times a week. (Which completely drives me nuts, by the way.)

So last week, he was finally working on a deal here in Atlanta and was guaranteed to be here all week. Aside from our cookbooks, we have two ever-growing books of recipes clipped from magazines or printed from the internet. One is full of recipes that we've tried and liked, and the other is full of recipes we want to try. If we like a new recipe, we move it over to the "tried and liked" book, and if we don't like it we throw it away. So in addition to meal planning for the first time, we were really ambitious and tried all new recipes.

I'm glad to say it was a complete success!

1) We saved a lot of time by only going to the grocery store just once a week instead of making several trips.
2) We avoided having the dreaded daily conversation of "what are we going to eat" and "whose turn is it to go to Publix today".
3) For the most part, our meal selections were pretty healthy.
4) All of these meals took less than an hour to make, and most were done in under 45 minutes.
5) We usually had enough leftovers for one or both of us to have lunch the next day.
6) We saved money! Somehow our grocery bill was a LOT less than what we normally spend. I guess that's what happens when you only buy what's on your list...
7) The icing on the cake: all our new recipes were keepers.

That's a win-win-win-win-win-win-win in my mind! :)

Here's what our week of dinners looked like...

Day 1: Veal and Mashed Potatoes. We used a recipe from our Joy of Cooking cookbook (our cooking Bible) for the veal, and I'm pretty sure everyone knows how to make mashed potatoes. We are big-time nerds and like to have "themed" dinner and movie nights, so we watched Sound of Music to go along with our wiener schnitzel :)



Day 2: Veal Parmesan. This was an accidental bonus meal that we had not planned on. We had leftover veal from the night before so we kind of made up this meal based on what we had. It worked out especially well because we only got through the first half of Sound of Music the night before, so we continued our theme night and watched the second half.



Day 3: Sausage and Broccolini Risotto. This was by far my favorite meal of the week. It was amazing. I've never made risotto before, but apparently it's somewhat difficult/annoying because you have to stir the whole time. Not with this recipe! And the leftovers I had for lunch the next day were just as good. My co-workers even asked me for the recipe because it looked and smelled delicious in the break room!




Day 4: Capellini With Spicy Zucchini-Tomato Sauce. This was both of our least favorite. It was still pretty good, it's just that everything else we made last week was that much better! We eat a lot of pasta, so it wasn't really something out of the ordinary but definitely a keeper.
 


Day 5: Grilled Pierogies and Kielbasa. This one was surprisingly very good, considering the sausage caught fire on the grill, we didn't have the right mustard, and we forgot to take our parsley out of the freezer the night before. Plus it was just as good, if not better, for lunch the next day.

Source


Day 6: Chicken Paprikash. This dish was pretty good. It was different from other paprikash meals we've made before. We kept the recipe although this isn't something I think we will make too often. 



I know it won't work out this well every week, so we've started a running list of meal ideas up on our fridge so that when Bo is here we can head to the grocery store with a plan. Less thinking, less stress, less money. So far so good. Apparently everyone else on the planet knew what they were talking about with this meal planning business, and as usual, I am the last one to jump aboard. So if for nothing else, hopefully this will serve as a reminder for us to keep it up.