Putting on the brakes for Boston

“Sad for the horrific things you have experienced in your life. I was much older before this terror hit.”

This was in a Facebook message from someone very close to me earlydownload this morning, one day after one of the world’s most recognized sporting event turned into a scene from a gory action movie. Another moment of innocence lost to an act of violence.

While I’ll probably still always consider 9/11 the defining historic moment of my life (knock on wood), it’s become apparent to me how many incidents we’ve seen recently that follow a similar pattern. Columbine, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Newtown and now the Boston Marathon. So when I received this message this morning, it dawned on me that I’ve probably seen double the murders, double the bombings and double the acts of terror in my 25 years than she’s since in her 55+.

But then again, who’s the judge of that? In talking with my 61-year-old boss this morning, he reminded me that violence has always been alive and well in this country, we just weren’t as exposed to it. With the eruption of the Internet and social media, we have no choice but to be subjected to news coverage (whether or not it is verified) and the breeding of fear. Yesterday I read more about the two explosions on Twitter in 20 minutes before the story had even broke online on CNN, Fox or NBC.

bostonmarathonFor my senior seminar paper in college, I wrote about citizen journalism and its role in natural disaster coverage. I discussed the validity of witnesses who report on the situations, what they say, what photos they take and whether or not we should pay attention. What I find funny is today I’m asking myself the same questions when it comes to valid, legitimate news organizations. Up until about 2 p.m. today, the father of Martin Richard, the 8-year-old- who was killed in yesterday’s bombings, had been a runner in the marathon. Then they confirmed that his father had in fact not run in the race. At one point yesterday, “dozens” had been killed in the explosion. Today, we found out there were three.

So between everything we’re being fed via social media and the news, who do we believe? And even more so, are we ever NOT going to be overexposed? While I’m as much of a news junkie as the next liberal arts, coffee guzzling graduate, I can’t help but think we are becoming distracted by the plethora of information at our fingertips. Was I happy I could get news updates from 50 difference sources via Twitter yesterday? Sure. But is that really what we should be doing?

Maybe instead of creating hashtags to trend on Twitter, or creating a “Pray for Boston” meme  not an hour after the attack, or trying to get the news out so fast that you publish false information, maybe we all need to slow down. Sure this surfeit of content is informative, but I wonder sometimes if we would all be better off putting on the brakes and actually let ourselves feel the emotion of the situation as it happens, not just talk about it.

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If you’re going to San Francisco…

…well you probably know the rest of the words if you’re a wanna-be hippie like I am. Well, that’s where I’ll be in approx. 28 hours! I’m excited to take the first REAL vacation I’ve had in almost two years, see the sights in Sacramento, drink wine in Modesto and spend two full days in San Francisco. Most of all, I’m excited to dominate (read: die on the hills of) the Rock n’ Roll San Francisco half marathon! And just for funzies, here’s a throwback to my first half:

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Maybe I’m starting to figure it all out…

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????OK, so none of us really have life figured out, nor will we ever. But as I get closer and closer to that dreaded upper echelon of the 20s, I’m starting to finally figure out what I WANT and what makes me HAPPY. And no, I’m not here to dump all my personal crap on you, just to provide some insight to the inner mind workings of your average 25-year-old.

A few months ago, you may have read this post. To admit my writing showed a slight inner battle between my heart and my head would be an understatement. Needless to say, this complacency I discussed has been harder to climb out from than I thought. But, I think I’m actually starting to get there.

Again, not getting TOO personal here but a breakup with a relationship that caused me more hurt than happiness for two years was my wake-up call. I finally decided to take a stand for myself and break it off, knowing somewhere out there is a person that will value me for who I am and what I believe. Isn’t that what we all need, ladies? It also forced me to think about myself instead of him for once. I never realized I had become “that girl” until it was over.

So two years, two cats, a cohabited apartment and probably a gray hair or two (that I HAVE YET TO FIND, THANK YOU JESUS), I think I’m starting to figure out what it means to “do you.” And that’s what I’m doing!

gradschooltshirtI’m going to do whatever it takes to make those big city dreams a reality and really start doing what I want to in my career (grad school perhaps? Stay tuned). I’m also going to be honest when I say I fully intend on taking advantage of my new travel benefits (thank you former Delta-employed relationship). Finally getting up to NYC to see my girls, Chicago to visit a childhood friend, other weekend getaways and maybe my aunt in Greece. And yes, I fully plan on Eat, Pray, Love-ing it all the way to Santorini 😉

So I guess what I’m saying is I’m done settling. I may be in the upper crust of 20 but I’ve still got lots of time left.

Oh, and I’m also going to lose 10 pounds…this is happening…I’m speaking it into existence.

So maybe I baked just to blog about it…

… and not even blog about it, mind you. I just wanted to take some delicious looking photos. Much to my disappointment, the result was nothing amazing. Good-tasting toffee cookies but not much to look at. Ah well.

P.S. An intelligent, thought-provoking post coming soon. I promise. Greatness takes time, people.

(Click on each photo to enlarge and salivate.)

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From shab to fab

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Table: before

Well maybe shab isn’t the word to use…more like outdated. And that’s what this table should be considering it was made sometime in the late 1800’s. (I’m guessing. This is only an assumption taken from the manufacturer tag on the bottom)…but I digress. I came upon this solid wood and marble coffee table while out on a run on Atlanta’s Beltline a few weeks ago. The super eclectic, super fun, super expensive antique store/venue space Paris on Ponce was having a back deck sale and this piece just so happened to be one of the lucky ones chosen.

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Apparently the piece was made by the Barkey Furniture Co., which went out of business in the 70s and was based in Grand Rapids, MI.

 

After purchasing the table for only $60 (originally $400, go me!), Adam and I decided it was time to spruce it up a bit. So we took a trip to Home Depot, bought a ton of sanding paper, stain and gloss polyurethane. After an afternoon of sand flying, cats sneezing, beer drinking and painting, it was complete.

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Table: after!

 

 

While we didn’t do much, I’m proud of how it turned out. Lucky enough the solid piece of marble (which seriously weighs about 100 lbs) lifts right out of the frame and made for an easy project. It definitely beats the tacky, cheap-looking IKEA table we had before!

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What’s your favorite piece you’ve given a makeover?

Two thumbs up for Two Urban Licks

It’s no lie that Atlanta is a prime destination for foodies. After living here for three years this spring (my time spent here in high school doesn’t count), I’ve acquired names upon names of local restaurants I want to try. From American to Italian to Caribbean, the options are endless.  However, being on a strict budget and watching my finances has hindered me from accomplishing my culinary tour of the area.

So that’s why I decided to splurge on my boyfriend for his birthday this month. I narrowed down the restaurants I wanted to try, passed the list around to several coworkers and got the same consensus from each – “You MUST go to Two Urban Licks.”  So that’s what we did. (Sidenote, I was too engrossed in the foodgasms of this restaurant to take any photos besides the cake photo, hence the courtesy captions).

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Photo courtesy of the beardedmasticator.wordpress.com

First of all, the atmosphere is incredibly inviting (after you get over the fact you are literally walking into a warehouse). Dark, warm and a little noisy. A huge (and I mean huge) mural on the wall is definitely a conversation starter if you are looking for one. The gas-powered candles and huge red lamp lights will also spark some intrigue. When you walk in, the aroma of fresh-cooking meat will greet you. That’s because 2UL has a wood fire grill and a (again) HUGE rotisserie that slow cooks each piece of brisket, chicken and more. Hungry yet?

We started off with beef empanadas and mussels. The empanadas were moist and delicious, served with garlic aioli, pico de gallo and feta. The mussels were soaking in a tangy tomato bacon broth and were served with ciabatta bread for sopping the broth up after the mussels were gone.

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Photo courtesy of foodspotting.com

For our entree, Adam got the veal and I got the scallops. Now, let me tell you, I’m not a big veal fan but I must have stolen about 10 bites from him. The blackened veal was served with osso buco (aka bone marrow), butternut squash, brussel sprouts and anaheim peppers, all topped off with a red wine demi glaze. It was delicious and I crossed trying bone barrow off from my bucket list …OK it was never actually on my bucket list, but just go with it.

My scallops were equally as delicious. My only disappointment was that there were only three of them. But considering they were served with gouda grits, pico de gallo and smoked tomato broth (all amazing), the meal turned out to be richer than I would have thought so it probably was a perfect portion.

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Photo courtesy of Yelp

Dessert was a piece of carrot cake, served with cream cheese ice cream. The chef was kind enough to write “Happy birthday” in chocolate sauce across the plate.

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But out of all of this scrumptious food, let us not forget about the wine. OH, the WINE. 2UL is unique in that it ages and serves its wine straight from the barrel. What’s more is you can order carafes of the varietal of your choice – mini, small, medium, large, you pick! We went with a merlot, a reisling and a chardonnay (I should have written down the names!). Between the two of us, it was a lot of wine, but it’s a celebration, so why not celebrate? They also have specialty cocktails and draft and bottled beer so don’t forget those.

So if you’re looking for the perfect date out, a night out with the girls or somewhere to show out-of-town guests what the Atlanta food scene is all about, 2 Urban Licks will not disappoint!

See the entire menu here.

Christmas crafting

Aaah, Christmas. Time to break the bank to buy friends and relatives gifts they don’t even need! I’m feeling a tad Grinch-y this year, can ya tell? 😉 Handmade gifts, as long as they’re done right, are always a good option. They show you put some effort and thought into what you give the recipient. This particular project, DIY hand dotted tumblers, was taken straight from Pinterest (of course) and involved three easy steps:

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1) Hand-paint glass tumblers with acrylic paint by using cotton swabs to make a sea of colorful dots.
2) Place upside down in a cold oven.
3) Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

That’s it! I experimented too, and ran one through the dishwasher.  No fading whatsoever! Merry Christmas and happy crafting!

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