Coosa River Kayaking Trip

With the colder weather coming in, it was time for me to organize another kayaking trip while the water was still warm. We went to bed early the night before so we could be ready to head to Wetumpka, AL for the early trip starting at 9:30am. Ever since I discovered kayaking, Coosa River Adventures has been my favorite place to rent from. The staff are so friendly and helpful and it’s only $29 to rent a one person kayak for the entire day. Coolers and dry boxes packed, we had a blast out on the water all day! The water temperature was absolutely perfect! I also spoke with the owner and he told me that the water should stay a great temperature until Thanksgiving so this may not be the very last trip of the season!

http://www.coosariveradventures.com/

165905_10153284533625506_966577453_nOur group getting ready to set out on the water

1383414_674299027520_1563397752_nSetting out on a gorgeous day!!

1383671_674281602440_1599121660_nThe boy wanted to jump off of this rock but the water level was a little low this time around

1381234_674298942690_1614983614_nOne of the best things about the Coosa is that you can really take your time. Here we are stopped for a break and being silly

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1383379_674298907760_1325684108_n (1)It was really nice being the seasoned veteran of the river this trip. I did manage to fall in a couple of times and I’ve sure got the “Coosa Tattoos” to show for it!!

Can’t wait to organize one more trip this year!!

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Beer and Wine Festival 2013

This past Saturday was the 4th Annual Uptown Beer and Wine Fest and it was another great turn out!

Last year at this event, I ended up in the newspaper doing the Wobble so I decided to keep it a little more classy this time.

All kinds of people of people were in attendance and it was so nice running into old and new friends while sharing mini glasses of brews. I wish I’d kept better tabs on all of the beers and wines that I consumed but all were pretty darn good to me!

Here of some fun pictures!1382182_10151951511642146_647125185_n Ran into some fun guys in kilts who asked me if I liked “bagpipes”

13863_10201167753049268_139126696_nPicture taken and edited by my LOVELY friend, Jenn

1235298_10151951514722146_787870573_nWho says you can’t have two cups??

1185406_10151951513137146_251625826_nAdorable friends, Emily and Kari

1377589_10151951513712146_1016004889_nRoomie having a blast in the middle of everything!!

There’s no better way to bring in the fantastic fall weather than a good ole festival!!

Maltitude Grand Opening

Last Friday was the grand opening for Malitude, Columbus’ first craft beer and wine specialty store!

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Located on the main strip of Broadway, this dog friendly beer and wine shop is an awesome new addition to the growing Downtown scene. With bike stands, build your own six-pack stations, and the first growler filling/refilling store (to my knowledge) in C-Town, Maltitude already has the ability to attract customers from all different walks of life. The staff are super friendly and knowledgeable and didn’t look down on me at all for not being a craft beer connoisseur.

IMG_4413[1]I absolutely adore the dog drinking station! It was really awesome getting to see people bring in their pups instead of leaving them out on the sidewalk. Got me thinking that now all we need is a dog park nearby!

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We wandered around looking at everything and eventually decided on one of the mix and match six-packs. Even ran into some old friends at the register!  After check out, we decided to head out to streets to enjoy our brews while listening to the Outdoor Concert Series.

I can already tell that this new store is quickly going to become a Columbus favorite!

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Labor Day Escape to Atlanta Part 2

Slightly bruised and broken from the night before’s shenanigans and amply rested from spending the entire day in bed, we decided grab some greasy grub to cure the lasting effects of our hangovers. Looking for a place that could be classified as cheap, served beer, and tasted fantastic, we settled on The Vortex. Now, I’ve heard a ton about this place before entering and was expecting a bit more of a biker style bar.  Signs, bikes, and other miscellaneous  paraphernalia hung from the rafters but not a biker was seen. The cigarette smoke and relaxed environment drew us in but we stayed for the delicious burgers.

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Our waiter, a thin bearded man t-shirt and jeans, told me that I had to order a burger since it was my first time here. He went over the menu and informed us of what he considered the very best burgers that The Vortex had to offer and left us to decide while we quenched our thirsts on draft brews.

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I ordered the Four Horseman, described on the menu as a blackened patty topped with horseradish sauce, grilled onions, sautéed mushrooms, and jack cheese. The horseradish was zesty and creamy and really made this burger stand out. The shoestring fries that came with were awesome too and I can’t wait to try the rest of the burgers on the menu!

We also discovered that Dragon Con was happening in Atlanta during that weekend. Wishing we had purchased tickets to attend and don fun costumes, we had to settle on driving around the most congested hotels in the area that were hosting the event. Below is a picture of our run in with Katniss Everdeen and Effie Trinket!

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The next day, needing to be decently fed before my 1.5 hour ride home, we stopped at Savage Pizza in Little Five Points. I absolutely ADORE the way this little shop was decorated top to bottom with comic book heroes, villains, and other iconic images.

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Even the bathroom walls were covered in comic book pages!

The pizza was pretty darn good too.

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Across the street from here is a little Co-Op called Sevananda Natural Foods where I hear that they have amazing soup. Still stuffed from the pizza, I didn’t get to try the soup but I did find out that these places are jam-packed with strange things.

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 If you aren’t sure what this is, they are reusable sea sponge tampons. Just think about it and no thank you!

I ended my trip to ATL with a quick stop into Urban Outfitters since they were having as sale, 30% off all items already on sale. Bought an amazing red bag and a ring for someone special but I can’t manage to get this great piece of art out of my head.

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You know you really should have bought something when it’s still all you can think about days later.  Classy isn’t it?? I mean, glitter AND it’s teal? It would have looked fantastic in my new house. Le Sigh. Maybe next time!!

Labor Day Escape to Atlanta Part 1

Sometimes, when things get hard, the best thing you can do is run away from it all. Well not really but sometimes it’s fun to do anyway!

I decided that a getaway was just what I needed and with it being a holiday weekend,I had more than enough time to head up to Atlanta for some barhopping and best friend fun.

First stop on the list was the Clermont Lounge. Before the trip, I had done a little research on this bar by checking out the website and watching a video featuring the likes of Anthony Bourdain and Alton Brown.

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http://clermontlounge.net

Located underneath what looks to be an old abandoned building, the Clermont is a seedy little strip club filled with young and old alike. Drinks were cheap and cash was the only currency accepted. Ladies from ages 28 to 67 danced around the circular bar and plied their trade using fire, glow sticks, and strange bodily movements. Signs hung from every wall warning against picture taking so unfortunately I was unable to get any of the inside. My favorite part of the experience was getting to speak to one of the girls who’d worked there for 20 years. At 67 years old and clothed in an Alice in Wonderland costume, she was spry and funny as well as unashamed of the toll that age had taken on her body. I told her that this had to be the greatest strip joint I’d ever had the pleasure to be in and that I loved how imperfect yet at ease all of the ladies looked on stage. Then someone paid her to give a lap dance to a very uncomfortable young girl and our conversation was over. I have decided that I’d like to be taken back here for my birthday in April.

Next we meet up with some other friends at Sister Louisa’s CHURCH of the Living Room & Ping Pong Emporium.

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Every inch of this dive bar is decorated in iconic, religious or satiric imagery. Visually assaulted by the strange decor, we grabbed our cheap PBR’s and made our way outside to the beer garden-esque wooden tables.  The place was crowded with hipsters and thirsty youths. I’m sure there was more to this establishment, I just wasn’t able to located how to get to the rest of the building!

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One of the doors read, “Every time you exit here, Jesus kills a kitten”. 

Next we drove to this funky and eclectic place in East Atlanta Village called Argosy. The place was huge and comfortable inside with dark wood, caged lights, and tons of seating options. I grabbed a seat at the bar and attempted to order a Bud Light. Apparently, they have a special where if you buy two draft brews, you receive a free pizza. I didn’t get one of my own but was lucky enough to try a piece and that pizza is absolutely AMAZING! Since I’ve gotten back to town, I’ve done a little research on this place and it looks like they have an awesome menu. I’ll definitely be going back there at some point in the future to try everything else but until then, check out their Facebook:  www.facebook.com/TheArgosyEAV

We ended the night at gay bar called Mary’s. Since it was kind of late, it wasn’t extremely busy and was mostly memorable because I twisted my ankle in my darling wedges and gained a skinned knee. Then upstairs near the extra restrooms, a saloon style door swung back and hit me directly above my eye.

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http://www.marysatlanta.com/

So I decided to take my limping, swollen, slightly intoxicated butt home and get some rest.

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Or order Chinese food. Whatever. 

Friday Night’s Just Desserts

Not a huge fan of sweets myself, I rarely find myself interested in desserts of the confectionery kind. However, Friday night I found myself licking my lips and wandering around this cozy little wine shop.

The Bitter Brick is an adorable little corner shop in The Landings shopping center. Trendy chevron walls, dark wood, and soft candlelight make it a perfect place for a lady’s wine lunch or romantic date spot in the evening. My step-brother, Nicky J, also just so happened to be working the intimate audience with smoothly sung melodies.

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I walked straight in towards chalk-laden menu boards hanging above the bakery cases that showed the types of beers they carried. After quite a few questions, I settled on a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel beer. Apparently it’s made in old bourbon barrels and tasted divine, especially for someone who is not a fan of “weird beers”.

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While waiting at the bar for my brew, I became overwhelmed by the dessert choices that I had no idea that they made. Whoopee pies of all flavors, croissants, and tiny chocolates galore!!

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I settled on the s’mores and a bourbon chocolate and was not disappointed. The melty goodness of the warmed up s’more brought me right back to my childhood! I can’t wait to get by there again soon to try more of the many options!!

Check out their website at:

http://www.bitterbrick.com/

Also, you can receive a free chocolate with your Facebook check it!!

Mental Health Days

Once a week I get to enjoy a day off work from the daily grind of my job. A day that I like to call, with only a hint of sarcasm, my “Mental Health Day”.  I’ve worked with companies in the past where I felt overworked and underappreciated so when I took the position I now hold, it was very important to me that I would be strictly working my required forty hours. In a perfect world, I’d have every Saturday off to do as I please and make the best of the daylight I rarely enjoy, but alas, the world is not a perfect place and I must make do with what I am given.

Usually, I try to fill my day off with fun, outdoor activities and adventures usually missed but having no plans until much later, I decided that perhaps the best way to spend the day hours would be relaxing and nourishing myself.

I am so used to my regular work schedule that I woke up only a few minutes later than normal around 8:30. Guess it’s time to wake up and make some yummy breakfast! After scrounging around my kitchen for some sort of edible ingredients, here’s what I made:

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Breakfast! One Eyed Jack, Deviled Egg, & Chorizo

After such an amazing little meal, tiredness overcame me and I relaxed for a late morning late. Hey, it’s my day off and I do what I want!

Around noon it was meal time again and this time I had something a better planned. I’d taken out some steaks last night and couldn’t wait to try my hand and making them. Beer in hand, I marinated in a little Dale’s and threw these bad boys into a cast iron pan. A little water and love later, and viola!

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One super fresh and delicious steak salad!

A couple of movies (and beers) later, it was time to head off to my trainer for some heavy lifting. I do this once a week, usually on Thursday and pay a little too much for the pleasure. I should definitely go more often as I really enjoy meeting with my trainer and the after-burn of hard work being paid off. What I really struggle with, is making enough time. I know that my health should be foremost but it’s not only the 30 minutes that it’s hard to make time for, I also live 45 minutes away from the gym. Then if I want to go out after, I’ve got to locate somewhere to clean up and re-dress.  Enough complaining. So I’m a huge fan of food and not so much the gym.

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BOGO Burgers Monday!

A good buddy of mine is a bartender at our local Locos Bar and Grill. Whenever the restaurant has a special, he sends out a text to his friends to let them know. Monday I received a text that it was BOGO burgers and $6 pitchers while the Braves are playing. If you dont know, BOGO means Buy One Get One and so this was a deal I couldn’t pass up!

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I ordered the Grilled Chicken Burger (which I don’t have a picture of because it was TOO good). The chicken was juicy, the cheese melty, and the veggies had just enough bite. Count me in for that burger every Monday! And to wash all this deliciousness down?? Why, margarita pitchers of course!

And just remember 

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Road Trip: Birmingham Zoo and Other Adventures

Through a little random internet stumbling the other day, I discovered that the Birmingham Zoo would be holding what they call $5 Fun Days August 10-11 and 17-18. During these dates, their regular admission tickets (usually $14) were discounted to only $5 so we decided to use this great price point to make ourselves a fun road trip!

We arrived a little later than the 9am gate opening but the day was overcast and it was still early enough that we had a few hours before becoming so hot that we’d have to see the remainder of the creatures through a haze of a Georgia Heat induced stoke.

While the admission tickets were only $5, there are other options that you can choose to make your trip more exciting. We decided not to fork out for the extra wristband since it included more juvenile escapades like the carousel, train ride, foam playground, and giraffe feeding. In hindsight, I really think we would have enjoyed the feeding and the train ride and prices on both separately from the wristband was only $2.30. We did decided to pay the $5.50 for the Dino DIscovery though and did not regret it. 

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After carefully planning our park wandering strategy (which consisted of “I really wanna see BLANK”, “I give up, let’s just wander” and “WE HAVE TO DO THE CAMEL RIDES!!”), we made our way over to watch the Wildlife Show. Despite the crowds, we managed to grab a small corner of a steel bleacher and waited for the show begin. We witnessed stubborn woodchucks, rat snakes, and I even made eye contact with an owl.

I found that the paths were not very well marked and seemed to meander in all different directions. Perhaps this lends to the feeling of discovery as I did feel mildly lost among the shouting children pressing their hands and faces to the glass, the stressed out shouting parents, and only semi-interested animals.

Within and without the air-conditioned buildings sprinkled about were awesome creatures of all sizes. The smaller enclosures all of the animals inhabited almost guaranteed that we’d get a glimpse of each one (as long as they weren’t sleeping, which a lot were) and encounters felt much more personal than with other zoos I’ve had the chance to visit.

We tried to check out the Predator Zone animal training show but no matter how close I was pushed,  my 5′ 1″ height would not allow me to see much. The trainers were apparently using meat “snacks” and milk to show animal husbandry behaviors by making them do basic training-type tricks. They stood up, pressed their bodies against the gate, and allowed themselves to be sprayed with flea spray.

Next up was were the camel rides. For a separate ticket price of $5.50 you too can be led around a circle atop a live camel while small crowds point and your significant other takes pictures. My boyfriend was very excited by the thought of this, most of his excitement spawning from the recently popular Hump Day Geico Camel commercials, so I assumed he would be one doing the riding. Instead I guess he just wanted to stand near them and say hump day, much to my annoyance. Not one to turn down an uncomfortable activity, I promptly offered to hop in the saddle.

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^ PROOF! ^

Not an overall terrible experience and his hump was surprisingly comfortable. I like to think that camel and I bonded, rider and steed, just a little.

Next up on our to do list was lunch since neither of us had eaten breakfast and all of the animals were making us hungry. Not to say that we were going to eat them, but it was definitely time to make a pit stop.  The zoo was also having a $1 hotdog special at the Safari Cafe so we bought two, some fries and a water, grabbed a table, and had a nicely shaded lunch beneath Safari Peek.

We continued to wander around but honestly, birds, reptiles, bugs, and fish don’t hold much interest for me. That is, until we reached the Dino Discovery. These monsters were true to size (I assume?), the sounds realistic, and the animatronics well executed. Rounding the corner, I met a T-Rex eye-to-eye and was frightened so bad jumped and let out a small scream, much to the amusement of others standing around. Loved seeing them at home between foliage, care for babies, and catching dinner. I got a little carried away taking pictures of them behind us.

Last on our list of Must Dos was the Red Diamond Sea Lion Splash Show. We caught the last show of the day so it was completely packed. I’ll tell you, there is absolutely nothing fun about being smashed together with strangers on metal bench and I’m pretty sure that 98% of said strangers were not accustomed to the necessity of deodorant in 90 degree weather.  The trainer in charge of announcing had a very high voices and was a little grating. It’s okay though, because the REAL star of the show was a talented sea-lion who made it incredibly difficult not to find enjoyment while watching him perform his well taught tricks.

Overall, we had  a good time. I would have liked to try the train ride and giraffe feeding I’ve gotta save something for next time, right?

Since we were already out of town and it was still early, we decided try to find something else fun to experience nearby. Using Foursquare’s Explore option, we discovered a neat little desert pop shop appropriately named Steel City Pops.

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steelcitypops.com

This has to be one of the coolest (no pun intended!) little sweet shops I’ve had the pleasure of visiting. Their store front has a clean, industrial feel to it and they have SO many flavors to choose from! Found out from their website that all of the popsicles are also healthy/organic, gluten-free, and have no refined sugars! The boyfriend went with the Vanilla Bean sweet pop and I went with the Sweet Tea pop.

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AMAZING!! I love hot tea with natural honey and this tasted just like that but with the prefect amount of lemon. I really wish Columbus, GA had a little place like this and if we did, you would find me there all summer long!

Last on our romp was a brewery called Avondale Brewing Company.

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www.avondalebrewing.com

Located in a sort of sketchy and directionally confusing part of town, it’s housed in an old brick building with a huge fenced in backyard setup with a cornhole sets, a large stage, and an outside bar.

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We didn’t stay too long but we did order the Spring Street Saison and a Miss Fancy’s Tripel.

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Both were delicious and I’ll definitely be ordering the next time I find myself at a craft beer bar!

Finished the trip with dinner at a Whataburger be had passed on the way to the zoo.

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It was our first time eating at one and won’t be the last! We even managed to run into someone also from Columbus, GA. We talked about burger cravings and he teaches some sort of jujitsu class in town that we might check out soon!

Overall, it was a fantastically fun Sunday with great company!

Now to rush back to Columbus for some Dexter and True Blood!

Friday is my Second Favorite F Word

Don’t get me wrong, I love my job but I love a night out even more!

After slaving away on the phone from 9-6 I was more than ready to grab a frosty beverage somewhere. Met up with an old friend I’d recently been running into as well as some of the usual gang. It’s always nice getting to play catch up and creating new memories so I rushed over to meet them, a group that would end up totaling five, at bar called Spicoli’s that just reopened across town. Why the rush? Apparently their happy hour consists of $4 beer pitchers. At that price, of course I immediately ordered two for myself!

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We laughed, we danced, we mingled, we definitely drank a little too much.

I’ll admit I went to bed a tad to late and today I am absolutely exhausted.

 Even though I work forty-five minutes from my house, I always manage to make it into the office about twenty-five minutes early. Well I wasn’t late today but I wasn’t early either. Hey, at least I’m here!

On the way I grabbed a hot gas station chicken biscuit. I’d like to say it was wonderful but in all honesty I think I’ll pass next time. Biscuit was dry even with mayo (english muffin > biscuit) and who only uses ONE chicken finger?? What was I supposed to put between the rest of the bread?? At least I had a yummy mother made/packed lunch to look forward to.

Today’s lunchtime hangover cure

Homemade Pot Roast

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Isn’t my mother the very best for knowing just the thing that would make me feel better?

Thanks PTuggs!!