Sunday, August 31, 2014

Give Me Back My Hometown...

I thought it'd be fun to do a little post about growing up in my hometown in Georgia, Alpharetta. I know a lot of the fellow bloggers I follow are from towns not too far, so some of this might be familiar!

When I first moved there, there was like nothing. I know it's all developed now but back in 1990, there was nothing there. Just lots of hills and some barns and silos. My house was one of the first in the subdivision and next door to our development was a large red barn. At night in the summer, our driveway would be covered with frogs. I could hear them from upstairs in my room and they really bothered my mom. As the construction continued, the frogs later disappeared when their homes were gone. 

The closest theatre, Walmart, etc was in Roswell so there wasn't a lot to do if mom wasn't feeling up to driving. I don't really ever remember going out to eat much or really going out a lot. Outings were usually to go get groceries or when it was the weekend and we were looking for things to do.

My dad liked to drive around randomly and I think that's where I get that habit. We only went downtown when there was company or we had to go to the airport. Back then, Underground Atlanta was fun. There was a Cafe Du Monde. Our only other really big outings in Atlanta were during the 1996 Centennial Olympics (we have bricks in the park) and the day they demolished Fulton County Stadium. 

We had a large backyard filled with trees and all kinds of animals. We had a motion detector so it was always kind of fun to see what was wandering out there. We've seen everything from armadillos to possums, squirrels, rabbits, deer, and the neighbor's dog. Behind our house was a small lake that most of us kids didn't go to because there was a rumor someone died in it.

I played in the backyard when the weather was nice which resulted in most of my white T-shirts being covered in red dirt. A few friends and I attempted to make a fort on the slope over our driveway but the ground was too slippery and the cardboard boxes were not working out as we had hoped. 

My pets were the fire ants who lived in the huge mound behind the house. This thing was about the size of a loveseat. It was pretty common to find lizards in the house and sometimes I would keep the prettier ones and carry them around in my pocket. Our biggest problem was usually squirrels crawling into our chimney and getting stuck. I always thought one would find its way into the house. 

North Point Mall hadn't been built yet and that whole area was trees. Our farmer's market (which has since become a Whole Foods) was one of our favorite places to go and check out the "exotic" foods. One of my fave places to eat was called Dinner Deck and it was off GA-400 towards Dawsonville. They had really great hush puppies and instead of dessert, there was a sherbet bar. When I got older and my dad had ham radio meetings, we would go to Ryan's or Quincy's. That was a "big outing" for me, I just loved the rolls. 

When I was in kindergarten, after a school field trip I saw a huge cat in the big hill behind my school. When I mentioned it to my teacher, she assumed I was just seeing things. I talked to my dad about it a few years ago in passing and he said that was very likely a mountain lion. Freaky! One of my earliest memories of living in Georgia was being herded into the school basement for our first ever tornado warning. We had our own little shelter beneath the basement stairs in our house. My dad kept his hunting rifles and later his Y2K food stock in there. We made use of it quite frequently. The shelter, not the food.

We always had ice tea in the fridge. Our freezer would sometimes be filled with meat from when my dad went hunting. We had a big beautiful John Deere until my dad accidentally drove it into a tree in our backyard and broke his ankle. Our house had some really pretty bay windows and my mom made lace curtains for the ones in the kitchen. I think it may have been haunted. We would hear footsteps in the crawlspace at night and see shadows move down the halls where there were no windows. 
Our burglar alarm would go off for no reason every few years. 
Sometimes I would even hear someone run up and down the stairs. 

We took a lot of cartrips when I was younger. We would go to Shelby, North Carolina every year for the big ham fest. My mom and I would wander the swap meet. At least once a year we would go to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. We always had a lot of fun there. When I got older we started doing bigger trips to farther places but when I was little, we stuck to the South. The biggest deal was Disney World. 

On weekends, my dad would often take us down to the Chattahoochee. We would sit by the water and feed the ducks. Sometimes they would try to sit on my dad. At least once every couple weeks we would go to my dad's fave shooting range so he could shoot skeet. The owners had a cat there but they would usually put her away when we'd come over because my mom didn't like cats. The manager was a good friend of my dad's and while they were shooting I would get stuffed with taffy and pink lemonade. Sometimes we would even go all the way to Augusta for his shooting (I told Charles and Dave of Lady A this and they got a kick out of it). When I was a teen, my dad got a fishing boat and weekends usually consisted of bass fishing at the lake (up at 5AM grrr) and then frying it up at his friend's house. When we had company we would usually take a trip up to Helen, Georgia and wander the German town and visit the Tanger Outlets.

When I was close to middle school age, they built our big mall. Before North Point, the other malls were like 30-45 minutes away so we rarely went shopping. This mall was a huge deal but even then, we didn't go too much. The biggest draw for me was the carousel. When I was older and home-schooled, my favorite thing about our large shopping area was the JoAnn's Fabrics. I would go in every weekend and buy fabric to make dresses because I loved to sew. 

I put together a Pinterest board here in case you want to see what my childhood looked like. :-)
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Friday, August 29, 2014

Atlanta Day 3- Coca Cola & the Sun Dial

Wow, am I just realizing I never posted this???

For our third and final day in Atlanta, we slept in. We needed to! 

Our first stop was World of Coca Cola. I have been here so many times and though they keep changing the set-up, it's always essentially the same. We skipped the films and walked through each exhibit before hitting my favorite part- the tasting room. Having grown up coming to WCC, I know which sodas are awesome (Asian) and which ones taste rancid (Italy). My favorite one is definitely Smart Watermelon from China, but Inka Cola from Peru is also really awesome. 

After this, we stopped by the CNN Center so Lara could hit the big Braves show. I found a lifesize Rick from Rick & Morty that was adorable. 

Our last stop before getting our luggage was a last minute inclusion. Since we had skipped breakfast, we were starving. We made a reservation at the Sun Dial and that was probably one of the best choices we made. The food was amazing and our last views of Atlanta were beautiful. 

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Throwback Thursday

The time I went to the Las Vegas Ren fest and had a monkey sit on me.

Not really much to tell here; we have a small annual renaissance festival every year in Sunset Park around October. Funny thing about October, it can be insanely hot or really nice. This particular year it was hot. We did a whole round since it was not as crowded as usual, and I met this cute little girl who is attacking my head. Not really, she was quite well behaved. After having lived in Georgia and seeing their AMAZING and over the top ren fair a few times, ours is quite sad and a bit more like a themed festival. Still fun though. :-)

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Break-Ups, Dating, Blogs

It's been a weird month.

After what I thought was the worst break-up ever, I realized, it was the best thing that's ever happened to me. Not only am I no longer attached to someone shady and dishonest, I have freedom to do whatever I want again. I don't have to subconsciously wonder how my decisions impact his life. I don't have to wonder if he's lying to me. I don't have to care at all. And it's amazing. 

After a few weeks of feeling like I was run through a wood chipper, I woke up this week feeling almost blissfully happy every morning. I let myself be the unstable ex last week and stalked his Facebook and hers. And this week, I haven't bothered. I just don't even care. Why waste time and energy on someone who broke every promise, took things for granted, and in the end was never going to deserve me anyway? 

I also realized that I have amazing girlfriends. 
How could a girl ever get through anything without amazing girlfriends?

On that note, I'm dating. I have never really dated before. It's been extremely interesting. I've met some great guys, some weird guys, some guys who were nice but just not for me. And of course some creeps.

That said, when guys are asking about me, I always think of my blog. I realized, I'm very protective of it. Yeah, it's public and I have followers I've never met. But at the same time, I think I want to keep it to myself. I don't even tell a lot of friends or family about it.

So here are some great things about my break-up:

I don't have someone quizzing me about music I don't care for.
I don't have to force myself to like things I know I won't like.
I don't have someone making fun of everything I like.
Guys buy me dinner again. YES. I don't mind splitting the bill, but I don't have to pay the whole thing!
Someone tells me I'm pretty every single day.
If I want someone to talk to at any hour of the day, there's someone waiting for me.
I don't have to wonder why (not if) someone is lying to me.
There are no promises to break.
I can save the money I would have spent going to Pensacola and sign up for pilates again!
I can find someone who will really take care of me and let me take care of them.

So anyway, that is life lately. Hope you are all doing awesome!!!
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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Travel Tips- the Good, the Bad, and the Stupid

I travel a lot. That's no secret. I don't think I'm any kind of expert and I'm constantly looking for new tips and tricks to make things easier/faster/cheaper. It's a work in progress!

Here is an assortment of tips I've come up with, tips I've heard, and things I just think are stupid.

I usually book with Expedia. A number of rewards companies have Expedia portals so you can earn points for them AND earn Expedia points. They do all kinds of promotions, especially if you book on the app. The majority of the points you earn will be for packages or hotels, flights earn very few BUT you still get your points with the airline too. I've booked at least one swanky hotel stay with points and paid next to nothing. 

Stuff things in your shoes- I agree but to an extent. Like, don't put your cosmetics in your shoes. And if you put stuff in your shoes, put them in a bag inside your shoes. Who wants all their stuff smelling like the inside of a shoe???

You never know if you're going to end up at a rodeo- A former friend said this to me once and I wanted to bash my head against a wall. This was an excuse for OVER packing. Um, if you didn't buy a ticket to the rodeo, you probably aren't going. And cowboy boots take up a lot of room. Pack for what you're doing not every eventuality. Cuz then you can't buy anything. No joke, when this girl had her luggage weighed at the counter, the attendant said "you're at your limit, you literally can't put anything else in, no shopping". 

Don't pack a million of one item. I'm mostly saying this to myself as I remind myself I do not need FIVE BLACK EYELINERS. I'm going to go with two. Just two. JUST TWO.

Contact lens cases are great for holding fake lashes. They don't crush them. 

Don't under-pack and not bring extra pants. The one time I did this I was caught in a monsoon, and sat in my only pair of pants in a foot of flood water. They weren't dry the next day so I walked around town in damp pants. The grossest feeling ever. 

Don't eat at Denny's. Seriously, you are in a new fantastic place. Why eat the same stuff you eat at home and pay MORE since you're in a tourist destination? WHY???

Take advantage of Groupon, Living Social, and Travel Zoo. So many discounts.

Test out any new beauty routine at home first. I did a test run with my new palettes to make sure I could get ready in under ten minutes. 

Cute make-up cases are great for your clean underwear. Just saying.

Got any great tips for me? I'm always on the lookout!
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