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Can you believe that summer is officially over?  I don’t know about the rest of you, but this summer was hot, hot, hot.  In August and September alone, Atlanta reached 90+ degrees for 38 out of  59 days. That is just ridiculous.  I don’t even know what the numbers in June and July was.   Don’t get me wrong, I love hot summers, but I am really digging this crisp fall weather that has arrived apparently out of nowhere.  Cool mornings turn into warm afternoons and chilly evenings.  We can sleep with the windows open and turn off the AC.  It’s awesome!

As I say goodbye to summer until 2011, I’ve begun reflecting on some of the cool things I’ve done this summer that I’ve never tried before.

Flying High

The first really cool thing I did was participate in an aerial silks class.  If you’re not sure what that is, it’s basically the cool acrobatic stuff you see in Cirque du Soleil where the girls are wrapped in bright-colored silks and flip and twirl through the air.

CGN, JD and I all signed up for this really cool introductory class in Atlanta at Sky Gym. The class was small and we broke into three teams of three or four, and we all learned the basic moves that eventually are woven into the advanced tricks and routines.  Watching the instructor made everything look so simple and elegant, when in reality it took some serious core and upper body strength to master the moves.  CGN was the best out of the three of us.  Apparently JD and I need to work on our core strength just a little.  If you do pilates or yoga and have ever done dance, you will love it.  Even if you haven’t, like me, it was still a lot of fun!

Dirt in the Skirt

Growing up, we always played softball.  I only played one year on an organized team, but constantly played with the neighborhood kids or Little S.  This summer, we joined a co-ed adult rec league, and I had so much fun!

I played second base (which scared me at first) and could actually still hit – during one game I actually got 4 RBIs, making me the MVP of the game! 🙂 It’s fun to run around at night playing a game from your childhood with friends, followed by drinks with friends.  We weren’t the best, but we enjoyed it so much that we are playing again in the fall.  Tonight is our third game, and hopefully we will win!

The best part about playing is coming up with a team name.  Ours is pretty ridiculous – Avoid the Clap – which comes from a quote from one of Little S’s and my favorite movies.  Do you know what it is?

Floating On

Late in the summer, a group of us decided to rent some floats and spend the afternoon floating down Atlanta’s Chattahoochee River.   It’s really chill and so much fun, even though the water is freezing.  It’s probably only in the low 60s, even in the summer.

Everyone rents some floats for themselves and their coolers, you string yourself up, and hit the water for a few hours.  The first time we went, there were only 6 of us, so we floated in a flower-like formation with our cooler being the center.  We drank beers and cider,  snacked on chips and grapes, and had an amazing afternoon floating for two hours.

Since it was so much fun the first time around, we decided to go again on Labor Day.  That time we had 18 people and probably about 22 floats (including the ones for the coolers), and we opted for the four-hour trip.  Since we had so many people, we were able to get a shuttle to take us to and from Little S’s place, so no one had to worry about driving, which was a really good thing because we were all a little tipsy from drinking in the sun all afternoon.  I wish we could have taken a picture of our giant formation because I’m sure it was pretty impressive!

Rough Rafting

Sticking to my theme of new water adventures, a group of us went whitewater rafting in early September. Thanks to Groupon (I love that site) we were able to get a really sweet deal on rafting tickets, so a bunch of us decided to buy them.  Since the rafting place was in Tennessee, we opted to make a weekend out of it and rent a cabin.  We ended up finding the most amazing cabin in Blue Ridge, GA, about an hour from the rafting spot, and 10 of us headed north for the weekend.  It was a random amalgamation of kids (we’re in our 20s and early 30s) and grown ups (the 45+ crowd), but we had a great time.

Our cabin had an amazing view of the mountains, numerous patios (and we all know how much I LOVE patios),  and a hot tub.  What more could you want?

The morning of the trip, I was pretty nervous.  I was convinced that I would fly out of the raft and be washed down the river in the class three and four rapids never to be seen again.   Luckily, I stayed in the boat, and I managed to have a ton of fun.  It was a little scary because we started and dove right into class four rapids, but after getting rid of the initial nerves and fear, it was such a blast.  If you’ve never been before, I totally recommend it.  And, the water was a lot warmer than the Hooch!

Smiling while the rapids aren’t too rough

It got a little crazier

The view from our awesome cabin

So, did you go out there and try anything new this summer?  Are you planning on getting into something cool in the fall?

My next adventure…belly dancing lessons!

Last night, T and I went to the Fox Theater to see Conan O’Brien’s Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on Television Tour, and it was hilarious.  The tickets were a birthday present to T from my parents and me (unfortunately we waited way too long to order tickets, so we had to fork over the big bucks to get the tickets on Stub Hub, but I’m so glad we did!).

I wasn’t quite sure exactly where we would be sitting when I ordered them, but I knew we’d be pretty far back.  Well, we were in the very last row of the theater, but at least we were closer to the middle than the sides.   Unfortunately, it was like 95 degrees in Atlanta yesterday, and apparently the AC doesn’t like to blow its frosty goodness up to the poor people in the last row.  We were dying up there – it seriously felt like we were sitting outside.  Luckily Conan’s hilarity distracted us from the heat.

I never realized that the Atlanta show was the last stop of the tour, so I feel like everyone was putting in all they had so they could end the tour with a bang!  The night started off with Reggie Watts, who is the master of voices,  sounds and kooky songs.  I couldn’t figure out which of his “voices” was actually they way he really spoke – they were all that good.  He was a good choice to get everyone revved up for Conan.

When Conan came on stage, everyone went insane.  He hyped up Atlanta a lot (and he better since we are the home of the TBS HQ – maybe that means we’ll be seeing him around these parts more often?).  Conan had us all dying with laughter with his jokes, his songs (I never realized just how musically talented he was – he’s a real rock star), his crazy props (the inflate-a-bat was my favorite), and of course, the Chuck Norris lever  (“I don’t think Walker (Texas Ranger) has the authority to go around dropping the AIDS bomb on kids.”).

I was so glad to see some of his Late Show regulars and characters as well – Andy Richter, LaBamba (I love that guy), Triumph, and The Masturbating Bear.  Some of Atlanta’s own also made it on stage to help pull the Chuck Norris lever – Evander Holyfield (so awkward, yet so funny) and Jack McBrayer (from 30 Rock).  We were also all stoked when Conan ran through the aisles, playing the guitar and giving high fives during the finale of the show.  He made it to the bottom half of the balcony – we could see him fairly clearly from our seats! 🙂

I totally had a brainfart before we left the house, or I would have brought my camera so I could have taken some pictures.   We were so far up that the pictures I took on my cell didn’t really come out.

There was one major annoying thing that took place (besides the heat) at the show though.  A few rows ahead of us were three people – two girls and a guy that were absolutely hammered.  The guy maintained composure; the girls not so much – let’s call them Wastey Face and Drunktard.  At one point, someone was trying to walk back to his seat with drinks in his hand.  As he was stepping over Wastey Face (she couldn’t be bothered to stand to let him by), some of his drink sloshed out of the cup and landed on her bare leg and sandal (it’s not like it ruined anything).  She freaked out and would not stop bitching and yelling about it. It was obviously an accident so get over it.  At one point after the spill, she and Drunktard went to the bathroom so she could clean up.  Instead of going quietly, she was bitching and yelling the whole way.  It was so annoying because Reggie was on stage and her whining was drowning him out.

At some point when Conan was on stage, she had another freak out and was standing behind the last row, where T and I were sitting, and was literally screaming to Drunktard about how someone had pissed her off.  This went on for at least a couple of minutes and was so distracting.  Finally I couldn’t deal with it anymore and I turned around and told them to shut the fuck up and sit down. This got them quieted down and they eventually sat back down.  Later into the show, I noticed Wastey Face completed passed out cold – like draped across the seat next to her.  I was so glad.  If you can’t handle your booze, don’t go out in public and be a nuisance to everyone else!  I wonder how they got her out of there…

I’m super excited that T and I were able to go see Conan live, and we can’t wait  till his show gets started on TBS!  Did any of you get to go to any of his shows?

I know you are all always dying to hear about my super awesome, high-class neighbors (aka the drug addicted freaks).  Saturday night we were hanging out on our patio with my family and some friends celebrating my mom’s birthday.  The Stella was flowing, the conversation was great, and everyone was having a great time.  It was probably a little before midnight when we heard a knock on the fence and the cracked-out voice of my neighbor, Joe.  Everyone went silent, but I knew we couldn’t just ignore him since he knew we were out there.

I opened the fence a bit to see what he wanted.  He said he wanted to officially introduce himself to us since we’d been neighbors for years.  Weird, but I went with it.  Then he let me know the most amazing news in the world (apparently the powers that be finally decided to answer my prayers) – their condo had been foreclosed on and they would be gone in two weeks.  Halle-fucking-lujah – not that I am one to rejoice in other people’s misery, but when you’ve lived next to garbage as long as we have, it’s nice to have someone finally take out the trash.

At that point, Joe also let us all know that Jane had moved out and left him and taken his dog.  This made me thrilled.  He used to rough her up when he was high, which is totally not acceptable in my book, and I was glad to know that she finally distanced herself from the loser (not that she’s much better herself).  Then he said how he was kind of depressed and heard us having fun, so he thought he’d pop by (so not cool).

After a minute of chatting, he asked if he could have a drink.  I figured I should stop being rude and offer Joe a beer, hoping that maybe he’d leave because we all know that’s the reason he came over.  He needed to bum booze of the self-sufficient 20-somethings.  He said he wasn’t a big beer drinker and asked if we had anything stronger.  We have an assortment of booze, so I figured I could offer him something, like Tom’s whiskey or scotch.  Imagine my complete delight when I mosied up to our bar and was greeted by a bottle of Bacardi 151.  I poured him a monster shot of warm 151, hoping that it would knock him out.  Of course it didn’t, since he’s used to hardcore drugs and all that jazz.  I gave him one more shot, and finally my sister’s boyfriend told him we were wrapping it up for the night.  He got the hint and left, but not before face-planting in the bushes behind our fence.  Revenge is sweet!

I haven’t been this happy in a while.  It’s going to be amazing to not have to hear mopeds that sound like Harleys being revved at all hours of the morning and the constant yelling, screaming and fighting coming from next door.  The parking lot will no longer look like a repair shop, and Jane’s sketchy brother won’t be driving through the place, constantly crashing his car into things.  I just hope no one weirder moves in after they are gone for good.

I’m sure you may remember some of my ranty posts that I have written about my super awesome, high-class neighbors (please note the sarcasm here).  Well, last night things went to a whole new level.

After having a remarkably fun and amazing weekend (more to come about that later), T and I returned to our little humble abode.  JD and our friend Z were there too.  We were lazing around watching TV and decided to venture onto the patio.  T had been upstairs and he noticed that there were cop cars driving up and down the parking lot in front of the condo.  Being as nosy as I am, of course I marched myself right into the living room to check out the situation (said in French voice that Dane Cook does from time to time).  We had our front door open with only our glass screen door closed.  Since they could see inside, the cops walked right up to my front door.

I asked if I could help them with anything (because I’m nice like that), and I realized they were looking for my neighbors, Jane and Joe.  I asked if everything was OK, and that’s when I was informed that my neighbors are…wait for it….meth addicts.  Yup, we’ve got some straight up Intervention type-shit going down right next door.  Aren’t we just the luckiest folks in town?

Apparently Joe was coming down from a meth binge and was having some intense pains and cramps so Jane called 9-1-1.  The best part of this story is that she actually informed the dispatcher that her boyfriend was having meth-related problems, and then the APD relayed this information to me.  I did let them know that Jane and Joe are alcoholics and like to fight and beat each other up, hoping that maybe they would get arrested or something.  But sadly that didn’t happen.

Things were pretty quiet for the rest of the day.  I was really concerned Jane was going to come over and beg me for one thing or another, but luckily that didn’t happen.  Phew…

And in case you were curious, John appears to be OK.  He made it home at 5:30 a.m. courtesy of an Atlanta cab since these meth heads can’t seem to stop crashing cars ( I wonder why that is…).  And keeping with his white trash nature,  it appears he got into some type of squabble with the cab driver, which resulted in me getting woken up.  I’m assuming he didn’t have enough money to pay the driver, which resulted in the driver getting out and causing some drama until he got his money.

I think I may start calling the cops whenever I hear any type of drama going down, with the hopes that they will get busted with something illegal and will go away.  And I guess I owe T an apology because for months he has been convinced that they are meth users.  I kept telling him to stop projecting Intervention-like drama into our real life, but I guess I was wrong and he was right.  Oh, home sweet home.

On another note…

Today is your last chance to enter my Dove contest.  I’m choosing the 5 lucky winners tonight!  🙂

***Don’t forget about my giveaway!***

I am giving away five sticks of Dove Visibly Smooth to five lucky readers so you can be summer-ready and smell pretty too.

Here is how you enter:

*Go here.

*Leave a comment telling me what your favorite sleeveless summer-wear is.  Make sure to give me a valid e-mail address so I can contact you if you win.

*Up your chances with an extra entry by Tweeting about the contest.  Please leave a comment with the link to your Tweet.

*Increase your odds even more by blogging about my giveaway, worth two entries.  Please leave a comment with the link to your post.

The contest will end at 10 p.m. EST on Monday, April 26th.

I sort of hate to admit it, but new favorite TV show is Style Network’s Jerseylicious.  If you are not watching this amazing salute to Jersey’s “more is always better style”, you are missing out!  FYI – I know not all of you Jersey folks dress or act that way, and these shows are not a representation of how a majority of you act, but it doesn’t make shows about the “Jersey” way of life any less funnier or addicting!

In case you aren’t in the know…

Jerseylicious profiles the Gatsby Salon in central NJ and its quirky cast of stylists.  The salon has just undergone a multi-million dollar renovation to make it a chic and classy establishment.  This means the salon’s owners are bringing in an assortment of new talent to help bring in new clientele who want to spend some money.

My favorite character on the show is Olivia.  She is the slightly over-tanned and overly made up aspiring make up artist, but she really is a genuinely nice person who is trying to do the right thing and avoid the drama.

If she would lay off the bronzer and tanning some, I think she would be a really pretty girl.

Her arch-nemesis and co-worker Tracy is always starting drama and being a pain in the ass.  Her sole goal in life is to make Olivia’s life miserable.  She is one of those people you love to hate because she thinks she is gorgeous and amazing.  Not only is she not that attractive, her personality makes her look hideous to me.

Seriously, how big does your hair need to be?

Gigi is the sweet girl next door who has a big heart and loves her boyfriend, who treats her like a jerk from time to time.  She wants to be married and start her happily ever after as soon as possible.

She is glam without being completely overboard.

Alexa thinks she is God’s gift to Earth and make up.  She does a good job, but her “I’m the best at everything I do” attitude really gets under my skin.  It’s her way or the highway, and if she doesn’t agree with someone, she will sure as hell let them know.  She has seemed to mellow out a little as the show’s progressed, so maybe that’s a good sign.

She will beat your ass if you don’t think she is the make up goddess!

If you loved Jersey Shore, you will love this show.  It’s got a ton of drama and a cast with attitudes and styles that are larger than life.

This past Sunday’s episode was amazing!  Tracy and Olivia were taken to NYC to receive a make-under.  They were stripped of their big hair, bronzer, and crazy long fake nails, and I thought they looked really good.  Of course they didn’t quite feel the same way.  Their reactions to their new looks was to die for, totally making it a must-see!

What’s your current guilty pleasure TV show?

***Don’t forget about my giveaway!***

I am giving away five sticks of Dove Visibly Smooth to five lucky readers so you can be summer-ready and smell pretty too.

Here is how you enter:

*Go here.

*Leave a comment telling me what your favorite sleeveless summer-wear is.  Make sure to give me a valid e-mail address so I can contact you if you win.

*Up your chances with an extra entry by Tweeting about the contest.  Please leave a comment with the link to your Tweet.

*Increase your odds even more by blogging about my giveaway, worth two entries.  Please leave a comment with the link to your post.

The contest will end at 10 p.m. EST on Monday, April 26th.

The traffic in Atlanta is ridiculous.  I know how I have blogged about it before, but my experiences this morning have made me extra stabby.  I live about 10 miles from the office, and I give myself 20-25 minutes to get here.  But it never seems to make a difference.  If I leave for work earlier than normal, I get stuck in traffic that is a result from idiots who can’t drive.

Take this morning, for example.  I was in my car around 8:40.  I was on my way and got caught at a red light.  I was about 12-15 cars back, which isn’t so bad.  When the light turned green, it seriously took the first couple of cars about 30 seconds to get moving.  30 fucking seconds!!!  What the hell?!?!  Do you want to know how many cars made it through the light?  About 6.  To me, that is totally unacceptable.  I can not fathom why in the world it would take someone 30 seconds to notice that the light is green and push the gas pedal.

Once I made it past the idiots staring with gaping mouths at the green light and not moving, I had to get on the highway.  Entering onto the highway from where I live is always an adventure.  I have 3 different options I can take to get on the highway.  I tend to avoid the one that is furthest north because the traffic over there is insane, plus you get caught up in the back up that is on the highway.  There are 2 that are fairly close distance-wise, but the middle option has a horrible traffic light and the intersection backs up.  So lately I have been using the one that is furthest south.

Sometime in 2009, the city of Atlanta and the GA DOT decided that it would be a good idea to install a ramp meter to help regulate the traffic.  I am all for that, as long as they are helping the flow of traffic and not hindering it.  Yesterday and today, the traffic on the highway has been moving, but the extended on-ramp has been backed up to the previous exit because of the metered light!

The metered light drives me insane because it seriously does nothing to help the flow of traffic.  We are stuck in a line of cars, sitting bumper to bumper, while the cars on I-75 fly by us without a second glance.  Sometimes I cheat, because another lane merges into this extended on ramp, and I cut over into the lane that rarely has any cars in it just so I don’t sit at the light forever.

Then, once I’m finally on the highway, I have to merge all the way to the far left lane so I can exit onto I-85 north.  This is where I often encounter some major assholes – the people who ride in the lane, even though it says exit only, to avoid the standstill traffic.  At the last possible second, instead of exiting onto the next highway, they come to a complete stop and try to merge back into the stopped traffic on I-75 south.  This causes all of us exiters to be backed up and waiting for the douchebag to get over into the next lane, which is so not cool!

Once you get past all of the bad and selfish drivers, the traffic is fine.  Until I get off the highway onto the road that takes me to my office.  The speed limit is 40.  This morning I was stuck behind a van, in the left lane (surprise, surprise), going 25-30 miles an hour.  What is with people???  There is a HUGE speed limit sign right as you get off the exit, telling us how fast we need to drive.  I don’t know why people think it’s acceptable to drive 15 miles under the speed limit.  It wasn’t icy out or wet, there was no sun in our eyes, people just can’t freaking drive!

And while I’m all ranty, what the hell is up with traffic lights that aren’t sensored?  Nothing annoys me more than when I’m driving on the bigger road and the light changes red at an intersection where there are no cars on the cross street, and I have to sit there for a minute or two.  Is it that hard to install a sensor?

Don’t even get me started on lights that are on the same street that don’t sync up.  How hard is it to make sure that all the lights on the main road are green while are the cross streets are red?

So, what’s getting under your skin today?

Normally, I like Christmas commercials.  They are cute or funny, and make you all tingly with the Christmas spirit.  But this year, I’m finding the commercials to be super annoying.  After reading Jess’ post about the ridiculous Lexus ads, I got thinking about which ones are getting on my last nerve and are taking me out of the Christmas spirit.

The one that I hate the most features the little girl and her mom, sitting on the stairs.  The little girl tells her mom they are working on their lists for Santa at school.  Then the little girl starts spouting off all of these things she wants, and the mom zones out, obviously panicking about the amount of money she’s going to have to spend.  Then she imagines Big Lots’ little Christmas elves and how they will help her get everything on her daughter’s list.

You may be wondering why this commercial pisses me off so much.  Well, it’s because it is insinuating that Santa doesn’t really exist.  If Santa was real, the mom wouldn’t be freaking out over the cost of presents.  I know Santa is a ruse, but imagine being a young kid who is beginning to doubt the Claus and seeing this commercial.  It basically is telling you that Santa is fake and your parents are the ones buying the presents.  Way to ruin Christmas for the kiddies, Big Lots!

It saddens my heart that all companies care about during Christmas is making money.  They are going crazy, hawking their cheap prices and encouraging people to buy everything in sight.  I know that stores are struggling too in these tough economic times, but when did the meaning of Christmas get so lost and turned into consumer mania?  This is supposed to be a time about giving and caring, helping out others and being with family and friends.  Not buying bratty and spoiled kids every gift they have on their damn Christmas list!

Even though the Big Lots commercial really annoys me, I do love some Christmas ones.  My favorite are the ones for Garmin.  Carol of the Bells is one of my favorite Christmas songs, and I think it’s so clever how Garmin (or their advertising company) has come up with cooky and funny lyrics.

Last year’s commercial

This year’s commercial – I heart squirrels

I don’t have a GPS, but if I were to get one I might have to head toward the Garmins because the commercials are so funny!

What Christmas commercials are you loving or hating this year?

I’d like to thank everyone who said kind words about my friend’s mom yesterday.  I appreciate the thought!  🙂

It’s that time again, where you share a little bit too much about yourself with thousands of strangers.  To read about everyone else’s horror stories, go to LiLu’s TMI Thursday page:)

Have you ever really given a thought to how odd it is to use public bathrooms?  No…well, I’ll give you a minute.  Ponder over how many bums have rested (or unsuccessfully hovered) there before you?

Isn’t it kind of a weird thing when you really stop and think about it?  I’m sure you are wondering where this all came from.  Well, when T and I went to see New Moon, I decided to go to the bathroom before the movie started.  I rushed in and headed straight to the stall to do my business.  As I was sitting there, it hit me how weird it was to be peeing in a bathroom filled with strangers.  Here I was tinkling with about 5 other girls standing in front of the mirror (right outside my door) primping and chatting.  I’m not weired out by that type of thing, but it just struck me as very odd.  These girls were giggling and laughing, and I was practically peeing in front of them.  Of course there was a door, but how much privacy does it really offer?

As I was heading back to the theater, I was thinking how glad I was that I am not a guy.  Peeing in a little stall with a stranger right outside the door or next to you is odd enough.  I can’t imagine having to stand next to someone while having my man parts out and peeing, being close enough that you could practically rub elbows in the process…creepy!  Honestly, if I were I guy, I’d be pretty pissed (ha ha) that I didn’t get my own separate stall.  Who wants to answer nature’s call with some random dude right next to you?  Definitely not me.  And on a gross thought – we all know how bad guys are at aiming…what if there’s a splash back from your piss pal beside you?  Nasty…

After I pondered the oddity of going number 1 in public, I started thinking about number 2.  Why is it that a bathroom is always empty, except when you have to drop a bomb?  Like seriously, Murphy’s got something out for you if you go number 2 in public.  There is nothing worse than having an upset stomach and having to use a strange toilet, and then meeting a group of ladies in the bathroom on your mad dash to the pot.

I don’t know about you, but I get stage fright in these situations.  Plus I don’t want these strangers to hear me fart or to hear a splash.  That is utterly mortifying to me.  The other horrible situation is when you are mid-deuce, and people come in to the bathroom.  Even if you courtesy flush, the room is not smelling like roses.  Then there is the shame of exciting the stall and having someone go right in after you.  I always pray that they don’t get hit with a wall of poo stink.  Fingers crossed…

Even though it’s odd, nothing will stop me from going potty in public.  I have the bladder of a squirrel, so there is no way in hell I can go all day without peeing.  And don’t even get me started on my jacked up stomach.  When you gotta go, you gotta go!

Last night was the start of my birthday weekend celebration.  In honor of me being on this earth for 27 years (ok, 26 and change until Sunday), T took me out to dinner at Woodfire Grill, Kevin’s (from Top Chef Las Vegas) restaurant.  He is our favorite chef on the show, so we were both super excited to eat his creations.  Let me tell you, it was the most amazing meal I have ever eaten.

Everything on the menu sounded great, so we decided to go with the 5-course chef’s tasting menu – so we could sample as much as possible without having to make decisions on what to eat!

Our dining experience began with delicious fall cocktails while we waited for our table.  I chose the Champagne Cocktail, a unique mixture of oregano syrup, dolin blanc vermouth,  lemon juice and marques de gelida cava.  It was such an aromatic drink, with an herby and sweet flavor.  The smell was just as wonderful as the taste – it may be my new not too sweet favorite cocktail, if I can recreate it at home.  T went with the bourbon-based Fall Classic – wathen’s single barrel bourbon, cranberry shrub, bliss maple syrup and orange bitters. soda.  T enjoyed the cocktail a lot.  I thought it was tasty as well, but I’m not much of a bourbon drinker.

After we were seated, we were given an amuse-bouche that was an interpretation of a Waldorf salad.  It was a tiny bite, but that bite packed so much flavor.  It was AMAZING.  We were presented with silver spoons topped with a tarragon cream sauce, an apple and pickled celery.

Our first course offering was a tomato broth, topped with a variety of beans and vegetables that was finished off with a soft poached egg.  My favorite part of the dish was the egg – when you cut into in, even though it was soft-boiled, the yolk stayed together and you were able to scoop up the vegetables and broth with it.

Our next course featured the most perfectly seared scallop I have ever seen with lamb jus and a flavored oil.  The scallop practically melted in your mouth it was so tender!  As we finished, our waiter told us that Kevin was working on a special oyster dish and wanted to know if we were interested in sampling it.  We said yes and were presented with a dish featuring some type of Washington oysters that are grown on a rope.  The oysters were topped with fresh vegetables and a tangy sauce and were sitting on top of a pile of seasoned salt.

Oysters

After we finished the oysters, we received our next course – a quail dish.  The plate featured 2 quail breasts with turnip puree (to DIE for), apples and turnips pieces, and a sauce.  The dish was the perfect combination of sweet and savory, and was a true testament to fall.

quail

Our fourth course was our favorite.  It was a sorghum braised pork belly that was accompanied by homemade sausage and creamed Brussels sprouts.  It was so succulent and flavorful.  I seriously could have died and gone to heaven after the first bite!

pork belly

The meal was rounded out with 2 desserts.  T received a banana cake and I received chocolate crepes with chocolate filling.  Mine even came with a birthday candle! 🙂 Both desserts were rich and delicious, the perfect ending to a wonderful meal.

IMG_2301

On our way out, we saw Kevin in the kitchen.  We stopped by to tell him how much we enjoyed his food and that we were rooting for him on Top Chef.  He was even nice enough to take a picture with us!

IMG_2302

All in all, it was the best pre-birthday dinner I could have hoped for.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the rest of the weekend will be as remarkable! 🙂

** Sorry for the crappy iPhone food pictures.  We felt a little weird busting the real camera out during the meal!**

I have been thinking about writing this post for a few days now, but just haven’t had the time to sit down and actually do it.  Lately, the idea of what is considered beautiful has been on my mind.  Being a female, I feel all of the societal pressures to always be thin and pretty, and frankly it sucks.  Anytime you turn on the TV or pick up a magazine, you are assaulted by an image of a waif thin girl (if she isn’t naturally waifish, she’s probably been retouched to look that way).

When did being a walking toothpick become the beauty ideal?  What happened to the curves that were previously embraced?  And why are they suddenly being shunned?  I don’t know how you feel,  but to me, real women need to have some curves.  Encouraging grown women to look like teenage boys is not sexy, it’s creepy.  When was the last time you thought a skeleton was hot?

What I am starting to admire are the magazines and companies that are embracing real women.  I think Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty is great.  Personally, I enjoy seeing a picture of a beautiful woman who may have some flaws over someone who is considered “perfect” for being stick thin.

I know that I am by no means perfect.  I could shed a few pounds (ok maybe like 15-20), but overall I am pretty happy with myself and the way I look.  Instead of us ladies always trying to compare ourselves to these non-realistic standards that we are barraged with every day, I think it’s time for us to embrace what makes us special.  So I’m going to toot my own horn and share the things that I think make me look hot!

In no particular order:

My eyes – I have brown eyes, and I love it.  They are a pretty warm shade, that changes from time to time, depending on the color of my eye make up.

My lips – My lips are naturally full and always look like I am wearing a stain.  I’m not sure where I get this from, but it’s awesome.  I don’t have to wear lipstick, which drives me crazy because it makes my lips feel dry.  One time I was at the dentist, and they asked me to wipe my lipstick off.  The dental assistant couldn’t believe it when I said I wasn’t wearing any.

My chest – Luckily for me, I come from a family of chesty ladies, especially on my mom’s side.  Even though they can be a hassle sometimes when I’m shopping for clothes or dresses, I wouldn’t trade them for the world!  Lots of ladies pay a lot of cash for something I have naturally.

My legs – They are nice and long, which means that they always look nice in a pair of heels.  I don’t ever have to hem my pants, and I can get places fast because I take long steps.

Those are some of the things about me that make me feel beautiful.

What makes you feel beautiful and hot?  Go ahead a toot your own horn!

Happy weekend!

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