Settling In

We have officially moved back to Atlanta from St. Augustine!  I got moved up at the end of June.  The hubby started his job about the same time, and I started my job two weeks later in the middle of July.  We are both loving our jobs, which is a whole new experience for the hubster.  He hated his job in St. Augustine, but he never called out, never missed a day.  I’ve told him many times that it speaks to his strength of character that he showed up to a job he hated, day after day with few complaints, so that he could take care of his little family.  But I digress.

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He is working in a really upscale steak house called Marcel.  He and I went there with my mom and dad for my birthday.  We had planned on going dutch, since it is such an expensive place, but my parents insisted on treating since it was my birthday.  We stuffed ourselves silly.  Marcel is the kind of restaurant where everything is a la carte, so we each purchased an entrée and a side.  It turns out that the sides are huge and intended to be shared, but that’s not all we had.  Since my hubby works there and we were celebrating my birthday, they brought out all kinds of little extras for us to try, and it was all amazing.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so full in my life, especially not so full of good food.   The best part, though, is the way they treat my guy.  They notice if he’s working with someone that is struggling to keep, requiring him to carry the station on a busy night, they thank him when he stays late or helps out in the dish pit when the dishwasher leaves or is in the weeds.  He goes out with his coworkers on Monday nights for industry night, his boss cracks jokes but still manages to be around whenever  a station needs to be pulled out of the fire.  I don’t think I’ve every seen my guy so happy.

I’ve got a fantastic job as an administrative assistant for the facilities department at Woodward Academy.  I support a huge department.  Facilities handles the A/C and heating, plumbing, electrical, maintenance, housekeeping, and event set up.  While I enjoy IMG_0368my job and it keeps me very busy, my tasks don’t sound particularly exciting when I talk about them…or type about them in this case, so when people ask me what I do I tell them that I’m the good woman behind the men that keep Woodward running.  The people I work with are great, and I don’t think I’ve ever been trusted with this much responsibility, which makes me feel good about what I do and makes me want to do it well.  I’m hoping to be able to get my little guy into Woodward in the fall, but my being employed there doesn’t make it a sure thing, I still have to apply for financial aid like everyone else, but there is a good chance.  I’ve been bringing him to the football games on Friday nights and introducing him around to my coworkers.  Go War Eagles!

Before I left Florida, I knew that I wanted to return to Atlanta to be near my family, but it turns out that I missed a lot more than my kin.

  1. Seasons: In Florida, fall is amazing, but it only lasts a few days.  Most of the time it’s either hot or cold.  Autumn hit here a few weeks ago and it’s been amazing.  Yeah, it can be a little rainy, but when the rain stops and sky clears, the weather feels incredible.  You can simultaneously feel the last few remnants of summer and the oncoming winter.  The leaves on the trees are turning too.  I never thought I would miss that, and I guess I didn’t when it wasn’t around, but now that I’m back I can’t help but marvel at the beautiful colors that leaves turn before the fall.  And I know that I will miss Florida’s mild winters, but I’m looking forward to winter coats and hats, and celebrating a cold Christmas.
  2. Airplanes:  I grew up about  20 minutes from the airport.  When I was a kid, the airport decided to build a new runway that would put our house in a landing pattern.  Before they did they came out and improved the insulation of our house, and since we wouldn’t be able to open the windows anymore, they installed central air.  When we were inside we rarely noticed the planes, it was only when we were outside trying to have a conversation that we realized that planes were flying about 20 feet above our heads.  You’d think, after that, I would dread coming back, but I love seeing the planes flying over the highway on my drive home.  And my job is close enough to the airport that I see them flying really low.  My son loves seeing them…and so do I.
  3. My commute:  Don’t get me wrong.  Traffic still stinks.  My husband and I are lucky enough that neither of us have to deal with the worst of the traffic, and I have the option of using surface roads when the traffic really backs up.  But for the most part, I really enjoy my commute.  That’s 30 minutes every morning and every afternoon that are just mine.  I can sing along with the radio like an idiot, or listen to an audio book.  I can get my thoughts in order so that I know how I want to approach the day when I get to work, or think about what I need to get done when I get home.  It’s one of the few times of the day that my time doesn’t belong to someone else.
  4. The city:  This was no surprise, I’ve been missing the city for years.  I love the view of the tall buildings all lit up against the night sky, I love the people watching, and I love the restaurants.  St. Augustine had some good food, but it was all…safe.  It was burgers, fried seafood, shrimp and crab legs, pizza.  But in a city like Atlanta, you can find any kind of food that you want.  You can drive down Peachtree Street and see the touristy places like Hard Rock Cafe and Planet Hollywood, then turn a corner and 10612673_10205186863327294_2006372312438638558_nfind a seafood joint, a pub, an Ethiopian restaurant, and a sushi bar.  Although, deciding on one place when you’re ready to try something new, does pose a challenge.  Shawn and I tried out Ri Ra’s Irish Pub a few weeks ago because we got lost looking for a parking lot and passed it three times.  We figured it must be Kismet, especially since there was a metered spot about a block away.  It was a great place with a patio, good food, and good drinks.

I think that’s enough for my first post in my new town.  It’s felt really good to be writing again, and I look forward to sharing more and more as I get into a rhythm with my new routine.  It sure is good to be back.

Vegan Disney

This is my first post that isn’t actually written by me.  This one comes from a friend of mine, who is an excellent writer.  I always enjoy reading her posts.  And, as she takes herself on some pretty great adventures, her posts are usually pretty entertaining.  Actually, the only reason that I can call her a friend is because we worked together for a while.  She and I are extraordinarily different, and it’s unlikely that our paths ever would have crossed if we hadn’t shared an employer.  We aren’t BFF’s or anything, but we keep in touch on social media, and I count myself lucky to have someone as unique as her in my ‘social’ life.   She has lived all over North America, rides a bike everywhere, and is a vegan.  In fact, her dedication to being a vegan is what brings us to this post.  Recently, she visited Walt Disney World, and while there she was determined to find good vegan foods.  Luckily for us, her findings are well documented.

“When you think of Disney, veganism is not the first thing that comes to mind. Oppressive ‘No Running’ rules and long lines in the scorching-hot sun is. However, I am the wishiest of wishful thinkers, and was determined to find something to eat other than a side salad. SUCCESS!!!! And now, because I know you’re all secretly curious behind that relentless teasing I’m subjected to on a daily basis, here is a list of vegan-friendly places in Disney.


Our first destination on this magical trip was to Downtown Disney, a lakeside crescent of larger-than-life shiny pretty things that leave you starry-eyed and emptied of monies. I dragged G through crowds of tired families, past guitar-shredding street performers, and away from the LEGO store just to force him to eat one—just ONE—vegan dessert at Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC. Regarded as the premiere vegan and gluten-free bakery in the world, McKenna’s recently opened a storefront location in Downtown Disney, even though the company has catered to the resorts and parks for several years. G got a vanilla cupcake (best to keep it simple when first delving into the vegan world) and I got what can best be described as the KFC Famous Bowl of vegan dessert: a plastic cup crammed five-layers deep with donuts, cookies, and a cupcake. I ate the entire thing.

Don’t judge; disgusting eating habits don’t apply while on vacation.


The following day G and I went to the best of all Disney parks, Epcot! We avoided the lines by pavilion-hopping until the day grew cooler to go on the rides. G had found a list online of vegan eats at the Disney Parks, so I made a scavenger hunt out of it and was able to scrounge up a delicious falafel wrap and mouth-watering grape leaves for lunch from the Tangierine Cafe and the Spice Road Table at my favorite pavilion, Morocco. The biggest surprise of the day came in the form of vegan mixed berry sorbet from L’artisan des Glace in France.


Day 3 we hit up Hollywood Studios, which never fails to make me nostalgic for L.A.’s Wilshire Boulevard and the Fairfax Farmers‘ Market. I heard rumor of a vegan-friendly veggie burger in one of the park’s many eclectic restaurants, but I was too busy being traumatized on both the Tower of Terror and the Rockin‘ Roller to find it (re. photos). After an even more horrifying once-around on the Toy Story ride (I accidentally shot Rex :-0 ), we took a bus to Animal Kingdom. Last year, Animal Kingdom surprised me as the best-kept secret in all of Disney World, simply because I stumbled upon a kiosk that sold vegan donuts. My heart is easily won, shut up. This time around, I hit up Mr. Kamal’s food truck in Asia and got an order of vegan samosas, with a side of spicy mango salsa. Too delicious.

G and I did the Kilimanjaro Safari, which was filled with lots of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ at the beautiful creatures and set the day off on a magical note. As G said, “Karma is on our side!” He was absolutely right. After one continuous scream on Expedition Everest we bounded back to Epcot for dinner at Restaurant Marrakesh, where poor G compromised and ate Middle Eastern food, and we watched an incredible belly dancer who made me feel bad for eating the KFC Famous Bowl of vegan dessert.

Thank you so much for a lovely vacation, G!!!!”

Photo From Vegan at Disney Blog
You can’t go wrong with samosas! [Photo from Vegan at Disney blog] — at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Main Entrance.
This is NOT a parfait. You are looking at five gooey, globby, grandoise layers of disgustingly vegany veganism. — at Erin McKenna's Bakery NYC
This is NOT a parfait. You are looking at five gooey, globby, grandoise layers of disgustingly vegany veganism. — at Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC

Home Updates on a Budget Part 2 and Movie Review: Equilibrium

Our house is officially listed for sale!  Our realtor had a professional photographer come out and take pictures for the listing, and it looks great!  We chose Keller Williams as our Realtor, and we’ve been very happy so far.  One of the biggest things we did to update the look of our home was to paint it.  At the advice of our realtor we painted the walls neutral colors so that prospective buyers can project their own vision for the house when they come to peruse our home.  We painted the trim my favorite shade of white, Roman Plaster.  I’m not a fan of white walls at all, but Roman Plaster seems to have a bit more depth to it than other white paints that I’ve seen before.  We painted the walls the color that our Realtor recommended, Pecan Sandy, which is just barely not white.  I find our new walls to be terribly boring, but it certainly does look fresh.









My humble advice, when it comes to painting, is to buy the good stuff.  I don’t mean to buy the uber expensive paint in the designer can, but certainly don’t buy the cheap stuff.  We used the Behr Paint + Primer, it covers walls beautifully and uniformly.  It’s not a cheap paint, it cost us approximately $42 per can, but it would have cost us a lot more if we had had to buy paint and primer separately.  And if we hadn’t used the paint + primer, we would have had to used two or three layers of paint, which would have cost us even more.

Movie Review: Equilbrium

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I watched Equilibrium on Netflix this past weekend and I really enjoyed it.  It’s not a new movie, it came out in 2002, but I had never even heard of it.   According to the trivia section of IMDB “The film was not given a wide release because it had already run into profit as a result of overseas sales, and Miramax didn’t want to risk turning a money maker into a loss.”  Weird, right?  I think so.  Anyway, it is an excellent movie with great stars, like Christian Bale, Taye Diggs, and Sean Bean.


Equilibrium is set in a future where humanity has embraced a treatment that prevents feeling.  This means that people don’t feel anger, jealousy, hate, rage, sadness, grief, or fear.  So crime has been largely eradicated.  Of course, this also means that people don’t feel happiness or love.  Christian Bale plays a type of detective who can sense when people are feeling, and of course feeling is a capital crime with the harshest of punishments.  This, of course, creates a dystopian society.  The journey of this film leaves the watcher wondering if Christian Bale is going to start feeling, and if he does, will he be able to over through a society that condemns everything that takes away what makes life worth living.  It could be a bit predictable at times, but the acting was great, the action was fun and different, and the theme really did make you think about what makes life living rather than existing.

And if you feel like laughing till you cry, check out this hilarious video from cracked: 5 Insane Foreign Remakes Of Famous American Blockbusters

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