(This is a sponsored post. All ideas are my own.)
I recently had the chance to visit Atlanta which I really always want to call Hotlanta! But I’m told by the locals to stop doing that. Seriously, they said, stop.
I got the chance to stay at the Loews Hotel which is an amazing combo of a cool, luxury hotel but still manages to be completely family friendly. I absolutely adored it (and so will you).
It’s right in the middle of midtown, which means it’s close to Piedmont Park (Atlanta’s smaller version of New York City’s Central Park), the High Museum of Art, the Fox Theatre, the Georgia Aquarium and more.
The lobby is very sleek and contemporary.
It has a fabulous bar area that was busy but not overcrowded when I was there on a Friday night.
I also had the chance to dine at the hotel’s restaurant, Saltwood Charcuterie & Bar.
I’m still not sure what “charcuterie” means but at this point, I’m assuming “delicious.” The menu focuses on salted, cured meats with a rustic presentation.
The Shrimp and Grits were very yummy and the Buttermilk Fried Chicken was divine (I mean, how can you go wrong when you add “buttermilk” and “fried” to chicken.) And the Brown Butter Apple Cake was something I’ll be thinking about for a long time.
And if you’re expecting some dinky hotel gym, be prepared to be wowed. Because the fitness center was big, clean and way nicer than the gym I go to in my neighborhood.
The fitness centers offers lots of classes including Barre, Cardio, Boot Camp, Yoga and HIIT workouts. So basically, I’m telling you to pack your gym shoes.
You can also spend time at the Exhale Spa which offers everything from facials to massages to waxing to healing. So definitely stop in and exhale.
During your stay, I strongly recommend you uber or drive on over to the Ponce City Market (just a couple miles away).
This place has a super cool industrial vibe with lots of great food options, shops and even an art gallery.
And one of my most favorite moments of trip. Seeing this girl…
That’s my wonderful friend Lanie who even lets me sometimes call her city “Hotlanta!” (Okay, I promise I’ll really stop.)
You can find more information on the Loews Atlanta hotel here.
And if you go, please tell me about your visit!
My mom’s 75th birthday was coming and she said to me and my sister, “Let’s do a little something when we are together for the holidays.”
But my sister and I thought… hells no. This quirky little lady who collects graduate degrees like most of us collect random keychains in our kitchen junk drawers…
And who still drinks Fresca…
And who takes her own coffee maker into the city if she sleeps over because she knows how to use it…
That lady deserves a party.
We decided to meet her in New York City for the greatest 75th birthday bar crawl the world has ever seen.
Okay, she doesn’t drink.
So how about a broadway show!
We saw School of Rock which was amazing. We even made my mom hustle 15 blocks in 25 degree weather to get to the show and she didn’t even complain. Well, she might have been mumbling something under her breath but who could hear her over the cold, whistling wind.
The woman has game. (And a snow hat from 1976.)
After the show, then came the fine dining! Besides Fresca, my mom has two other culinary loves.
Sweet potato fries.
And vanilla ice cream.
Done and done. We make 75th dreams happen over here!
The weekend was pretty perfect.
It was my grandmother and my mom who first introduced me to the magic and energy of New York City. So I can think of no better place to celebrate 75 years of being, achieving, accomplishing, growing, caring and living on this planet.
Happy birthday mom. We are so lucky to have you.
1. Hire a photographer to capture your children’s outer and inner beauty. (Okay, mostly outer.)
2. Decide on shades of blue and white for photo because blue brings out your eyes (I mean the children’s eyes! This is about the children!)
3. Listen to kids complain about what they have to wear. Tell them they will someday be grateful for these photos knowing full well they won’t because they will have 40,000 photos stored on their iPhoneXVXIXV (I don’t know what number that is – I didn’t go to college in Rome.)
4. Take roughly A LOT of photos and hope a few don’t look like your mom took them. But in fairness to my mom, she did recently take beautiful pics of me eating Cheetos at the playground.
5. Get photos back and realize you have one that is actually pretty amazing.
6. Log onto Shutterfly. Spend an hour creating a holiday card that celebrates love, peace and happiness.
7. Attempt to save order at which point Shutterfly will freeze and your card will be immediately lost.
8. But no worries. You are filled with holiday joy. You will simply recreate this card. Except you can’t ever find that style card again. It has disappeared into the merry black hole of the holiday universe.
9. Finally create new card, enter 37 digit discount code and hallelujah, your cards are confirmed!
10. At some point between a blur of Hanukah and Christmas, the cards arrive. Immediately put them on the top of the washing machine and promptly forget they exist.
11. Remember they exist when you’re shoving more stuff on top of the washing machine because guests are coming into town and you want to rid your kitchen counter of clutter and look like you have your act together (you do not).
12. Put holiday cards on the dining room table so you don’t forget.
(The box makes a great place to showcase your salt and pepper. Kind of like a lazy susan but without the spinning.)
13. When you still don’t send them out, tell your friends your holiday cards are available for pick up at your house.
14. When no one comes, offer curbside service.
15. When no one takes advantage of this amazing, limited time offer, ask your sister (in town from Memphis) to help you address some envelopes at the pool.
16. If all else fails, know you can cross out “Happy Holidays” and write “Happy Valentine’s Day.”
P.S. I’m not going to post the holiday photo here because then you will have no incentive to open up my card in February.
But here’s one of my faves from the photo shoot…
Photo by Simona Solomon Photography
Happy Valentines Day everyone!
Hey all. It’s been some time since I’ve written. But I’ve been booked with all kinds of stuff. Preschool alone takes up a ridiculous amount of time. And tackling my sister Harlowe keeps me booked up as well.
And then I also recently got into my sister Summer’s slime. (Just try saying “sister Summer’s slime” three times fast – not easy my friends.)
Now my mom set some kind of vague rule like, “DON’T TOUCH THAT SLIME EVER” which I sort of viewed as optional. So the other day, when she was unpacking groceries or some other kind of lame adult activity, I thought I’d check it out.
It really is amazing what I can do in about 3 unsupervised minutes.
Now my mom, instead of supporting my creative spirit, got all upset. Especially since we had to leave asap to go get my siblings at school.
She was yelling a bunch which really hurt my sensitive ears. Take it down a notch lady. It’s not like I put the slime in my hair (which now I realize was a missed opportunity).
Anyway, she finally recovered and paid my older sister $10 to clean up all the slime I distributed around the house. (I think my sister should of negotiated a bit up. It’s like a 3rd world sweat shop over here.)
My mom has sort of been drowning in responsibilities because her main childcare help (my grandad) has been on safari in Africa for 3 weeks. I get it because I love a good elephant but my mom is getting a little nervous breakdownish so it’s time for him to come back. Do you hear me granddad? Put down the binoculars. Pack up your safari outfit and head home!
Everyone has been sick around here. I was at urgent care just a few days ago with a couple of my siblings. The doctor seemed super nice. She had this mole right above her eyebrow and it seemed rude not to mention it so I said…
“I love your nipple!”
It’s hard to describe the look on the doctor’s face. She only said, “Wow. I’ve never heard the before.” A simple thank you would have been nice.
A little later on she was back in the examining room and I felt the need to really stress my love for this mole/beauty mark/nipple thing above her eyebrow so I said…
“I love your nipple and your butt!”
Again, weird look from the doctor but my siblings thought it was hilarious! My mom was apologizing profusely and saying things like… I guess we will find a new urgent care.
So that’s about all with me. I’ve been working very hard decorating my Thanksgiving turkey for preschool. The problem is I go to school with a bunch of overachievers. So my turkey looks like this…
And their turkeys look more like this…
I mean what kind of time do these kids have on their hands? Go take a gymnastics or yoga class for gosh sakes and stop working on those turkeys.
Anyway, it’s not about the turkey. It’s about gratitude on Thanksgiving. And I feel very grateful I still know where my sister keeps her slime.
When it comes to traveling, it’s really important to follow the proper etiquette. Because it can be hard to remember the do’s and don’ts, I put together this little cheat sheet for you. Good luck and happy travels.
At the Airport:
When going though airport security, don’t take your laptop out of the case despite the fact that the TSA officer has shouted for everyone to take their devices out of the cases approximately 40 times. The officer will appreciate your laid back and no stress demeanor.
Do take your laptop or iPad out of its case at the very last minute (about the same time you realize you have three completely full S’well water bottles). The man behind you – who has 16 minutes to catch his flight – will appreciate your commitment to staying hydrated.
If you have children, you can have them burn energy by running circles around people who are trying to make their connecting flights.
You can get lots of great snacks at the airport. This may be your only opportunity to pay close to $10 for a bag of chips so carpe diem!
Be sure to take your children to the bathroom so they can tell you they don’t have to pee. They are going to save “desperately needing to pee” for take off.
On the Airplane:
At the beginning of the flight, be sure to mention to any nervous passengers, “It’s so exciting to be on this pilot’s first flight!”
Don’t try to stuff too much in the overhead compartment. Your neighbor will hold anything you can’t fit on his or her lap.
There will probably be more dogs than people on your flight. Remember – it doesn’t hurt to travel with a handful of dog biscuits.
This pig was recently on my dad’s flight…
(It seems like pigs are doing a lot more traveling than in the past. If a pig ends up next to you on a flight, don’t panic. Just make sure he’s updated on all emergency procedures and put his oxygen mask on after yours.)
If you’re sitting in the window seat, don’t go to the bathroom during the flight. But if you really really have to go, definitely do it just as drinks are being served and the tray tables are down. Remember climbing over your neighbors is always an option. Think of it as a mini American Ninja Warrior competition.
Don’t take off you shoes unless your fellow passengers like the smell of feet. Always assume your fellow passengers like the smell of feet.
If you forget your headphones, politely ask your neighbor, “Can I put one of your earbuds in my ear and watch that movie with you?”
If you end up being seated near the bathroom, you can keep busy by timing how long each person takes in the bathroom and letting them know their speed afterwards.
If you have a crying baby, it’s best to hand out $20 bills at the end of the flight. Or give one of the passengers your baby as a thank you. Your choice.
Once You Arrive at Your Destination:
Be sure to tell the taxi or Uber driver, exactly where to go. Because they’ve only lived in that city for 30 years. Plus you know so much more than Google maps.
This is a good time to make loud cell phone calls so the driver can really understand the hardships of your life like Bobby’s soccer class conflicting with Julia’s piano lesson.
Be sure to get a 5 star commitment from your Uber driver. Do whatever it takes… compliment him. Tip. Offer to send one of his kids to college. The point is – get that 5 star rating.
When you reach your destination, feel confident that you have been a truly polite and gracious traveler.