monday musings |6.27.16|

Happy Monday! Anyone else have a short week ahead? I’m jetting off to Austin for a long-weekend full of friends, Tex Mex + lake time and K’s hanging around Atlanta enjoying all the red white + blue activities around town. But before we check out, we’ve got our favorite links of the day to wind down this Monday.

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Handy Chart to Tell Which Shape of Sunglasses is Right for Your Face

Happy #NationalSunglassesDay! A guide to tell which sunglasses look best on you – where has this been all our life? This is something I’ve always struggled with. While trends can be fun (hello colored mirrored lenses), investing in a pair of sunnies that look fab is always in season.

Why Blogging is Good for Self-Development

Creative outlet? Check. Reason to go to yet another brunch? Check. Self-empowerment? Check. There are many reasons we started this blog, but this article really shines a light on the major #girlboss benefits.

14 Tips for Traveling on a Budget

For those of you who are loyal H+R readers (we <3 you!), it should come as no surprise that travel is always top of mind for us – and we’re always looking to get a good deal out of our tips. (ICYMI: Kristen recapped her AH-mazing Hong Kong adventure here). These tips are great and we’re all about #4 and #14.

Edible Obsession: Palm Tree Donuts

Whether you’re beach-side or pool-side this weekend, these fun treats are sure to be a crowd pleaser and are totally insta-worthy.

What are your plans for the long weekend ahead?

xo, H+R

taste of atlanta 2015

In all honesty, this post would probably be more accurately titled “ALL THE FOOD”, but for the sake of propriety, we’ll keep it like it is. This past weekend brought with it Taste of Atlanta, one of Atlanta’s favorite events for culinary lovers and casual snackers alike. The festival, now in its 14th year, is held in the heart of Midtown and serves food, beer, wine, cocktails and more to thousands of festival-goers.

Despite living in Atlanta for 14 years (and loving food for 24), I had never been to ToA, so when a few coworkers of mine suggesting getting tickets, I jumped at the opportunity to try it out! We got general admission tix for Saturday – VIP is a whole different story, with an entire separate tent, but ya girl’s living on a budget. The great thing about the tickets is that while you pay $25 for admission, you start with 10 “points” to try, so that’s $10 of tastings included with your admission. This year, they used a cashless wristband system – THIS. WAS. THE. BEST. Props to whoever thought of this, because it was a game changer. To sample items, all you had to do was scan your RFID wristband on a reader – no cash, no cards and most importantly, no messing around worrying how much you’ve spent on tiny fried mac and cheese balls.

We started our day with our pre-loaded 10 points, as you can re-up your points inside the festival if need be. There were tents with food as far as the eye could see – little bites from some of Atlanta’s favorite and best-known restaurants. Because a. we were starving and b. we have very short attention spans, we stopped at the first tent we saw…but were not disappointed! The Barrelhouse was serving up Buffalo Mac & Cheese Bites with Avocado Ranch – as our friend Kevin so perfectly put it, “that’s basically just a bunch of buzzwords of things that I love” – and it was! They were super yummy and a great start to the day. Let’s put avocado ranch on everything from now until forever…k?

To get our bearings, we wanted to see more of the festival before making any more decisions. We wandered up and down, stopped at a few more places (Woody’s Cheesesteaks – one of my favorites in Atlanta!) and played in the Coke SocialBox for a little while. Another great thing at ToA were the free samples – though the smaller plates from restaurants cost points, there were lots of vendors sharing free takeaways which added to the fun: Whole Foods, Barefoot Wine, Sabra and many more. We even walked away with a block of Havarti cheese (hellooo, happiness)!

The rest of the day was filled with a bunch of awesome choices, including:

Oh, and gratuitous pic of these “Gangster Fries” from Bellwoods Social House because our friends ordered them and they were too good not to share.

Overall, even in the pouring rain, it was a great event full of too many great choices to try. I’ve definitely added a few new places to my radar and will be putting this event on my list for next year. What were some of y’alls favorite dishes?

our favorites for fall: atl edition

We made it! Fall is my favorite season of the year, complete with all the basic awesome things we’ve come to know and love: booties, sweater weather, college football and (because I’d be lying if I didn’t say it) pumpkin everything.

Fall is also one of the best times in this state of mine: the leaves are changing and it’s getting cool but it’s not cold enough to avoid the outdoors. With so much going on, though, it’s easy to feel totally overwhelmed with all the events coming up. It’s completely wonderful, but does anyone else feel like every weekend until December is already booked up? For the Queen of the Homebodies over here, it can be stressful to look at your calendar, even when you’re excited for everything that’s to come.

So where do we come in? Not to worry, fellow organizers: I’ve laid out my top five events to hit in Atlanta (and the surrounding area) this fall so you can hopefully plan ahead for fun…just don’t forget to schedule in some down time too!

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1 // Taste of Atlanta — Apologies because this one’s coming up (0 to 100) reeeeal quick, but I just couldn’t leave it off the list! Now in their 14th year, TOA is being held Sept. 25-27 at Tech Square in Midtown. Attendees will get to enjoy eats from tons of amazing Atlanta restaurants, live cooking demos and more. Depending on whether you get regular or VIP tickets, your day can consist of a bunch of different tasting experiences. I’ll be there on Saturday and am planning on trying out options from 1Kept, Bangkok Station (satay! ahh!), Bhojanic, Gu’s Dumplings and more. General admission tickets are only $25 and you can get them here. I’m sure I’ll have more than a few food pictures to share after this weekend!

2 // Ponce City Nights — This might be my favorite one of the whole list. You know we’ve been waiting for Ponce City Market to be open and in all its splendor for quiiiite a while…and it’s finally here! There are more than a few stores open now, including Anthropologie, West Elm and J.Crew, along with the Central Food Hall. They’ve also recently launched a concert series, Ponce City Nights, taking after New York’s Chelsea Market, held every other Thursday from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. The best part? It’s totally free (other than inevitably running into Anthro and picking up a few things)!

3 // Little 5 Points Halloween Parade & Festival — If you’re a Halloween lover at any level, you can’t miss L5P’s holiday parade & festival – one of the top 10 Halloween events in the country! Held on Saturday, October 17th, the festival will feature loads of local artists, food from Atlanta vendors and of course,  the best parade in the Southeast. The festival runs from noon ’til 11 p.m., but you can catch the parade starting at 4:00. Get there early for a good time and enjoy some of the official festival beer from Wrecking Bar Brewpub!

4 // Chomp and Stomp — Cabbagetown’s annual Chomp and Stomp is one of the few Atlanta things I’ve never done, but I’m thinking of trying it out this year after reading about it. Stick with me, y’all: the day begins with a “an easy, flat 5k” followed by a breakfast of beer and a chili-tasting for lunch. The festival also features an artist market and a stage for games like BRUSSELS SPROUT BOBBING. Running, beer, eating chili and bobbing for things. Isn’t that what fall is all about?

5 // Oktoberfest — Alright, so this is technicalllly not in Atlanta, but if you’ve ever been around in fall, you know it’s the place to be. This year is Helen’s 45th Oktoberfest (crazy!) – it runs from mid-September through November 1 and features German-style bands, dancing and lots and lots (and lots) of beer. Tip: Sundays are free, so head up there if you’ve got one to spare!

Friday fatigue is calling me to limit it to five, but if we missed anything, leave it in a comment below – can’t wait to see you all out and about this fall!

gypsy gold

I love when my jewelry has a story behind it. When someone compliments you on your jewelry, there’s nothing better than telling them all about how you searched and searched for that one ring to complete the perfect ring stack and you stumbled upon it at flea market; or the feeling you get when wearing a piece of jewelry with sentimental value.

One of my best friends has been perfecting the craft of jewelry making for years but most recently has taken her habit to the next level, producing top quality, one-of-a-kind pieces that are unique and perfectly on trend. Jillian’s pieces are classic with a bohemian twist which is why Gypsy Gold is the perfect namesake.

 

 

The first Gypsy Gold bracelet Jillian gave me has, you guessed it, a story. We were at the beach with friends and family and Jill asked one of the people on the trip about her bracelet. The woman explained that she had had matching bracelets made for her and her best friend and the tassel, beads and charm all meant something different. A week later for my birthday, Jillian had made an almost identical bracelet for me, and made herself a matching one too.#besties

All of Jill’s pieces are hand-beaded and the beads themselves are carefully picked out and imported from countries all over the world. Everything is made with 100% natural elements such as wood, semi precious and precious stones, paired with scintillating gold, sterling silver, and brass that only gets better with time.

Check out Jillian’s next trunk show! We’ll share details ASAP. You can see more Gypsy Gold goodies on Instagram @gypsygoldjewlry and on her website: www.gypsygoldjewelryshop.com

tastes to try: shake shack

If you live anywhere in the Atlanta area, chances are you’ve heard of the newest burger joint to come to town – the infamous Shake Shack, a descendant of its famous parent restaurant in New York. It started as a food cart outside Madison Square Park in 2000 and since then has grown to expand to 11 states (and counting).

The new Shake Shack is located in the heart of Buckhead on Peachtree – if you’ve driven by in the past couple weeks, you’ve definitely seen the giant lines out the door and down the block, even on chilly nights. When a friend was visiting from out of town, we finally got around to trying it to see if it would live up to the hype.

Shake Shack ATL

Image via Eater ATL

First thing’s first: I’m the realest the line. I pass the location on my way home and there always seems to be at least 20 people waiting to meet their burger match – to be honest, this is what scared us away for the first few weeks after the grand opening. After getting up close, though, I can assure you the line’s nothing to be afraid of. The ordering counter is actually right inside the door, so if there are more than a few people lined up, the line is going to stretch out the door – it’s a bit of an illusion. It only took us about 15-20 minutes to get to the front of a pretty long line of people, which wasn’t bad at all when you’ve got friends to wait with you (and milkshake choices to make).

We (not for lack of a long debate) finally made our choices and ordered our food. We all tried the Shakeburger, their original, plain cheeseburger, complete with lettuce, tomato and ShackSauce. They’ve also got a vegetarian Shroomburger I’m dying to try and an entire selection of hot dogs that I can’t go into because I’m hungry at work, but if you want to check out the whole menu, it’s here. Since we got to expense it to a business meal for a friend (yep), we also got two things of cheese fries, because, well, they’re cheese fries.

Since it wouldn’t be complete first trip without desserts, we committed to the Shack (Is this a thing? I’m making it a thing.) with different concretes and milkshakes to quench the sugar cravings. Two of us tried the Campfire S’mores Concrete (pictured), as 1. S’mores are everything and 2. 5% of sales are donated to a great local cause, Camp Twin Lakes. (If you’ve never heard of them, please check it out – an amazing program.)


Shake Shack Burger Shake Shack Fries

A few things I didn’t get to try that I’ll definitely be back for: the ShackMeister Ale and the upstairs open-air patio. The ale is brewed specifically for Shake Shack locations by Brooklyn Brewery. If there’s one thing I’m not missing, it’s an original craft beer. It was too cold for us to go up on the patio, but on a beautiful day in Atlanta, there’s nothing better than some rooftop dining.

The Verdict

I’m giving Shake Shack a 7.5/10 in my book. Burger: The burger was good – it’s no H&F burger, but definitely solid. I’m a big In-N-Out fan, but since we don’t have any nearby, I have confidence SS is going to deliver solid burgers quickly and not-too-expensively in my times of need. Dessert: The concrete was good, but a little too heavy for my taste – I think I’ll stick with a shake next time (as I probably should have done in the first place – hence the name)! Sides: However…if we’re giving the cheese fries a score, it would be 10 million/10, because y’all, if you go and don’t get them, you did it wrong. Overall, a great addition to the new Buckhead Atlanta shopping center and something I think will stick around in Atlanta for a while.

tastes to try: canoe

Birthdays are great, aren’t they? While I’m not one to make a big fuss over them, it’s a great excuse to get together with friends and family and do a lot of good eating (and drinking).

Mine was earlier this month, but let’s rewind a few weeks before. Cue the incessant “where do you want to eat?”s and the menu-searching for weeks, right? Isn’t that a quintessential part of the nice-dinner-search?

Thank me later: I’ve got the answer to your next date night/parents in town/#treatyoself meal (if you haven’t been already, since I realize I’m behind the crowd on this one) for my first “tastes to try” feature – Canoe. A lovely restaurant with great food is nice, but the atmosphere and gardens (yep) surrounding this place make it something else entirely.

Canoe

Does it not look absolutely perfect, y’all? This is a view of the back patio and it’s just as sweet as it appears (including a not-pictured river on the right side of this…and a riverside bar).

Back to me: I picked this place pretty easily for a birthday dinner after hearing rave reviews from many, many people (thanks, Erica!). We got a Friday reservation and we headed on over – to a perfect night. Our server was fabulous and so helpful, even among my nonexistent knowledge of game.

Since it was a birthday, we decided to try…well, everything.

We started with the caesar salad (boring, that wasn’t me) and crab cake appetizers, because if crab cakes are on the menu and you don’t order them, you’re doing it wrong. The salad was a salad, but the crab was perfect – not overloaded with breading and topped over some cabbage slaw.

CrabCake

Photo cred to the other half of the table – thanks, Andy!

Now the real meat (pun intended) – the main course. I had promised myself (and my foodie friends) I would be adventurous and not waste a great meal on pasta, as I usually would. New year, new age and some new branching out: I ended up ordering the Slow Roasted Carolina Rabbit. Guys…it was fabulous. Rabbit & swiss chard over bacon ravioli (yes, you heard me correctly) and sweet potato with a candied garlic sauce. Our server told us they’ve been serving it for 19 years and I can see why. Andrew ordered the Roasted Springer Mountain Chicken over a grilled corn and basil risotto with (his favorite part) the spiced green tomato relish. Both awesome, wonderful and great portion sizes.

RabbitChicken
Rabbit on left, chicken on right.

Now, you might think we’ve seen it all…but what kind of birthday meal would it be without dessert? These pictures need no explanation other than the most basic: popcorn sundae and peach crisp with honey ice cream (yes, they even included a special birthday note).

Popcorn SundaePeach Crisp

Needless to say, we couldn’t get close to finishing them both, but still so good.

Overall, a wonderful culinary experience for my taste buds and a great atmosphere for a sweet night. Already looking forward to my next visit — I hear they have a mean brunch, and you know I’m not missing out on that!

to-do list: summer in atl edition

If you’re anything like me, your life revolves around to-do lists. Not a day goes by that I don’t start with a fresh list, empty check boxes and a looming sense of satisfaction to be had at the end of the day when those tiny squares are crossed off.

Every morning, I also start with an e-mail in my inbox from one of my favorite sites, Thrillist. Side note: Little did I know this was supposed to be a men’s site, but if you’re sending me e-mails about rooftop bars, I’m just going to assume this is for chicks, too. Thrillist has pages for most major cities (I think Emily has since updated her subscription to the LA edition) and is an awesome way to find out about new restaurants and cool happenings in your city.

A few weeks ago, I received my daily list on “A Hood-by-Hood Guide to ATL’s Best Patios” and it got me thinking – 1. Patios, yes, a thousand times yes. 2. As it’s my first summer in the city, I need to take advantage of the exciting things Atlanta has to offer.

The Midway PubThe Midway Pub (I actually visited last week for the USA game) – Photo via FB

So, in an effort to put everything in an easy place to cross off for mental satisfaction, here we go: my to-do list, summer in ATL edition:

1. Attend a festival in (or around) the city.

There have been so many great beer/food/music/arts festivals lately and I feel like I’ve only just begun to experience the awesomeness that is the Atlanta festival scene. After wandering around the Inman Park Festival and Virginia-Highland Summerfest, a whole other side of weekend fun was unveiled to me. A few I’m looking to attend this summer: the Grant Park Summer Shade Fest and the the Decatur BBQ, Blues and Bluegrass Festival.

2. Take advantage of the outdoors.

Atlanta Beltline
Atlanta Beltline, via FB

While it’s hot here over the summer – they don’t call it Hotlanta for nothing, amIrite (no, seriously – don’t call it that.), there are still some great places to get outside during the summer. As it’s my first year being stuck under florescent lights all day, time in the sun is more precious now than ever. While Piedmont Park is a popular favorite (deservedly so), the Atlanta Beltline is one of the single most awesome things in Atlanta. Per their website, “The Atlanta Beltline is a sustainable development project that will provide a network of public parks, multi-use trails and transit along a historic 22-mile railroad corridor circling downtown and connecting many neighborhoods directly to each other.” Basically, it’s a giant trail around the city made for walking, running, biking, rollerblading, etc. Being the Atlanta native, Emily introduced me to the trail a few months back, allowing me to consider myself a “cool” Atlantan who knows what’s what about the trail. I’ll actually be running my second 5K on the Beltline this weekend, so wish me luck!

3. Peruse the soon-to-be-newly-opened Krog Street Market.

This one’s for you, E – I know you’ve been waiting for this since the announcement came out that a new market was planned for your neighborhood. The eagerly-awaited Krog Street Market is finally set to open this summer/early fall and I can’t wait to put on my ATLien shoes and explore like the local I (now) am. With tenants like Hop City Beer & Wine, Little Tart Bakeshop and Jeni’s Ice Cream, it’s safe to say I’m going to be spending some time (and calories) here.

4. Catch some tunes outside.

Concerts in the Garden
Atlanta Botanical Gardens – Concerts in the Garden – Photo via website

Among many things, Atlanta shines in the realm of great outdoor music venues. From concerts in Chastain to those in the Botanical Gardens, I’ll definitely be getting some good listening in around the city. While I’ll be in California the weekend of Sept. 19-20 (say it with me: YAAAY), a don’t miss outdoor music event this summer is the biggie: Music Midtown. Featuring artists like Eminem, John Mayer, Lorde and Zac Brown Band, it’s going to be an awesome time in Piedmont Park.

5. Cross a few lot more off the restaurant bucket list.

Back to my Thrillist e-mails — there are so many new restaurants and dishes they’ve sent me to try in Atlanta that I couldn’t possibly narrow them all down. A few I’m looking to hit up this summer:

  • The Painted Pin – a bowling alley/pizza place/bar in my neighborhood (Buckhead)
  • The General Muir – a place I’ve been dying to go for brunch since my love affair with brunch began (but more on that later)
  • Bar Amalfi – okay, so I’ve already been here, but it was so awesome I’m dying to go back. Look, guys – you can order Antico pizza to an outdoor bar with couches and umbrellas. It’s basically everything.
  • Republic Social House & Cameli’s – because what list would be complete without some rooftop restaurants to drink at? These two are supposedly some of the best.

There we have it: My long-but-short-enough-to-actually-be-accomplished-in-a-few-months summer list.

What am I missing? Anything you guys would suggest? Always looking for new places & things to try!

-K