Tuesday, September 30, 2008

an end in sight?

The AJC is reporting that gas lines are shorter in Atlanta today. Also that QT expects to have gas at all stations tomorrow. Good news! Are we nearing the end of the gas crisis? I hope! Will I still try to take the MARTA bus some day soon? Probably :)

links of the day

This is pretty sweet: a Google map of great running trails around Atlanta. It was started by a guy named Dave who used to live & run in Atlanta. It is great because it's a collaborative effort to map all the good running trails. Each point has a length, difficulty rating, and some of them have lengthy descriptions or helpful hints. I am sure I will find this extremely useful in finding new runs and challenges! :) And maybe some day I'll be cool enough to find a trail to add to the map.

Also here is a link to the Atlanta Singles Running Organization public run calendar. A long time ago, when I first started marathon training, I couldn't even consider running with someone. I was so out of shape and so slow! (And actually, I'm still pretty slow. I can just run farther. haha.) But I found this site today and am thinking of meeting up with these runners. Now that I can actually keep up for more than 3 miles :) I really like their motto: run to eat! Is that not so me!?

fear to peace

I just had a weird moment...I'm sitting here and I look over at CNN and there they are analyzing a piece of paper that looks oh so very familiar. My 401k statement. Not mine specifically. Maybe the news anchor's? I don't know. But it was like a "uhoh - gulp" moment. Oh, there they are on the national news talking about retirement accounts...oh, there's the form I get every quarter. Yeah, it looks exactly like that. Oh yeah, I've lost about as much money as that. Oh gosh.

But then I have to remember...everything on this earth, it won't last. I've been worried, scared, unsure of what to do. Especially yesterday when the market was down 700+ points.

But this morning, in a quiet time of prayer, God changed my heart, and I felt peace. I think I've been as smart as I could be with where I've invested money. There's not much more I can really do but wait it out. And all that I have, possessions, money, everything, it doesn't belong to me. I trust Someone else with it all. So no worries. I'll just take it a day at a time, trusting one day at a time. It will be a growing, stretching experience...which is a blessing. And what if I did lose it all? I have something so much greater to look forward to!

And anyway...just now things are looking up!

Bet you never thought you'd see the tags "economy" "spirituality" and "stock market" all in one post!

Monday, September 29, 2008

links of the day

Today's links:

- this is too cool. You can look up people to see who/what they have donated politically to. For example, I know that Scarlett Johansson is a huge Obama supporter, so I looked her up. And voila, she has donated $2300 to Obama's campaign this year. Then I looked up Carly Fiorina, one of McCain's big supporters and former head of HP, and voila, $2300 to John McCain. The only bad thing is that this cool link comes to you from the Huffington Post.

Hulu - I'm sure pretty much everyone knows Hulu by now, but I just had to give it a little plug here. I also think it's related to my blog because you can see the Tina Fey Sarah Palin sketches. They're kinda funny. But besides those, you can watch all kinda of TV shows and movies for free. Gotta have a little fun every once in a while :)

review: south city kitchen

South City Kitchen
@ Vinings
date of visit: 9/22/08

taste: 4
service: 3
ambience: 4

So last week, Ryan took me up on the 25% off South City Kitchen night. I'm soooo glad we went! This restaurant is now on my "Could eat every week" list.

The service was pretty good, but slacked off a little at the end. The ambience is really cool, very classy with a modern edge to it. For appetizers, we got gouda fritters and scallops. Oh. My. Gosh. The gouda fritters are soooo amazing. If you are a melted cheese lover like me, these little balls of goodness will make your life. The scallops were also pretty good, great sear on them. I wasn't really sure about the cucumbers that came with them though. Kind of an odd combo.

We also had a basket of biscuits and cornbread muffins. I don't know why the brought butter, because it was not needed! The little biscuits were so flaky on the outside, and doughy on the inside. They melted in my mouth. Ohhhh. And then corn muffins were also good.

Then our entrees: a vegetable plate (mashed potatoes, green beans, asparagus, butter bean succotash, mac n cheese) for me, and a pimento cheese burger for Ryan. Ryan said "this is the best burger I've ever had." Strong words!!! He said the Old Bay fries were just ok. I was impressed with my veggie plate, it was a lot of food! I especially enjoyed the bean succotash. My only complaint was the amount of green on the plate. Lots of green. But it was delicious green.

Then dessert. Ah, banana pudding. I LOVE banana pudding, and South City Kitchen did not disappoint. The pudding was light and the flavors right on. Yummmm. We also tried a chocolate bread pudding that was verrrry rich. I couldn't eat more than a couple bites. I preferred the banana pudding over the chocolate.

I can't wait to go back! Anyone want to go? :)

freedom park

Last week, I decided to check out Freedom Park for a run. I had a hard time finding a good map of the trails to run...then during my run I figured out that I should have been looking up Stone Mountain runs on the PATH foundation website. And then once I found the PATH foundation maps, I realized I went totally off the measured trails after I started running along Ponce.

It was alright...pretty hilly. Not straight up hills, they were winding hills. But they were still a workout! I prefer flatter for longer runs. The scenery was pretty cool though. I ran through Freedom Park, the Carter Center, Candler golf course, along Ponce...the weather was nice & the trail is lighted. I haven't found many (if any) lighted trails in Atlanta. Although I hesitate to recommend running there at night...

Overall, it was a good experience, and I may run there again!

yeah! bailout voted down

Check it out! Bailout voted down. Oh my gosh! Could it be that lawmakers are finally listening to their constituents and standing up for them?

review: Mimi's Cafe

Mimi's Cafe
Atlanta, GA
date of visit: 9/27/08

Ok...this will be short. I just wanted to note that the Mimi's in Atlanta is nowhere near as good as the Mimi's in Knoxville. After I ate my last lemon cream cheese muffin from Knoxville, I was in serious withdrawal. So I went to Mimi's here in Atlanta after church yesterday. Ugh. Horrible muffins. They were dry and small. They didn't even look like the lemon muffins I got in Tennessee. You won't often hear me extol the virtues of Tennessee (yuck, Vols), but their Mimi's beats ours hands down. Needless to say, I didn't get a 4 pack of muffins to go. Tear :(

That's it! Just wanted to warn you in case you go to Mimi's anywhere but Knoxville.

more on the 1st debate

So...did anyone happen to watch the debate on Fox 5? Yours truly was interviewed before the debate started...I was a little nervous at first, but the questions weren't hard. I don't think I let the Republican party down at all :) We were at the Fulton Co GOP HQ again for the debate. We'll be back there on Thurs for the VP debate between Biden & Palin. Let me know if you want to come with me!

Here's a cool video that puts together all the times Obama admitted McCain was right...12 times. How many times did McCain admit that Obama was right? 0 times. Just something to think about.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

uh uh ah ah john is right

Despite what all the media would have us believe, I don't see how any American could have watched the debate objectively last night and not thought that John McCain won it. It may not have been a home run for him, but he was solid. Obama started off well, then with each subsequent round got more stutter-y, more anxious sounding, and couldn't defend his positions. Also a good point was made on Hot Air how McCain referred to Obama as "Senator Obama" and Obama referred to McCain as "John" (and actually once we heard him call John "Tom"). I think the debate really highlighted Obama's inexperience.

My favorite parts:
the many times Obama said "John is right."
When Obama talked about invading Pakistan, and McCain said "you don't say those things out loud."
McCain talked about the bracelet he wears, Obama chimes in "well I have a bracelet too" - did anyone else feel like we were on the playground in kindergarten? My bracelet's better than yours!

Video of the entire debate:

Friday, September 26, 2008

kolb's farm loop trail

So a couple weeks ago I bought a book: 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Atlanta. I was hoping for some new routes to run and also some fun day hikes to take.

Well I tried out my first trail last weekend. The book has a section of hikes that are "good for runners." Within this section, the authors listed the Silver Comet Trail, which as I know all too well is paved and pretty flat. So I noticed a trail called the Kolb's Farm Loop in the same section and decided to try it. Unfortunately, I would never group this trail with the Silver Comet, and I would never try to run there (even though I did see several runners). I went with Ryan and we ended up just hiking together instead of me trying to run the thing. The first problem was that there was poop (it's a horse-allowed trail), everywhere. Everywhere. The second was that it was very steep in some parts, and running up and down steep gravel hills is not my idea of a fun time. And third, there were some really swampy, smelly spots.

There were some good parts though:

Someone made a little chair out of the end of a fallen tree log. A funny sight.

We took a detour to China and visited a bamboo forest & my Asian roots.

We saw the actual Kolb's farm, which is currently a private residence.

We viewed Civil War battlefields and earthworks.

We saw a deer! Eating crack corn in someone's backyard.

And most importantly, we finished. 5 mile hike, with some difficult parts. I was really proud of Ryan, I think it was a new milestone for him. It was a good time :) even with the poop.

links of the day

Ok I'm going to start a new thing...posting favorite links I've come across in a day. I probably won't do this every day, and the links might not be related...but I don't want to give each link it's own post. If that makes sense.

Anyway! Today's links:

A cool article from Ann Coulter on one of the causes of this financial mess we're in. A few teasers: affirmative action, political correctness, welfare. (via Ryan - thanks!)

A neat map of all the gas prices in the US. Not surprising, Georgia is bright red, meaning the most expensive gas in the nation. You can also search by zip code to see who has gas and how much it costs. Very useful in desperate times!

Publix BOGO

Ok, so I love to shop. Unfortunately my wallet does not love to shop right now. The only shopping I really do any more is grocery shopping. But I love to grocery shop, so that's ok! =)

Anyway I went to Publix last night and they are having a Buy-one-get-one free sale, and it's awesome. You need to go! I got 6 pints of Ben & Jerry's buy-one-get-one free. AWESOME. I don't mind paying $2 for a pint of happiness.

Some other good deals were cereals (I picked up Cheerios, Wheaties, and Life), Chef Boyardee ravioli (yes, I still eat one of my elementary school staples), Ken's salad dressings, Voila frozen meals, Betty Crocker cake mixes...basically everything I love to stock up on. Yum!

review: Mancino's pizza

Mancino's Pizza & Grinders
date of visit: 9/20/08

taste: 3
service: 3
ambience: 3

This is an all around average pizza place. My dad & I picked up a pizza & wings to eat while we watched the Tenn/Florida game last weekend. It's right down the road from his apt and he's never eaten there.

The restaurant has your standard wooden booths, tables, pretty open, sports paraphenalia and flatscreen TVs. I like that you can see most of the kitchen behind the registers. The crust for the pizza is pretty flat, so if you are a crust lover like my dad (he likes to cut the crust off and leave the pizza), then you might not like this place so much. The toppings are really fresh and they put a lot on for the money. The wings are just average. Surprisingly, my dad said he'd prefer Papa John's...but I liked Mancino's better!

it's on!

The debate is on!

Who wants to debate party tonight? :)

this would be awesome!

So if McCain doesn't show up at the debate tonight, this would be awesome: Palin shows up instead! Brilliant.

I found that suggestion in comments section of Holly Robichaud's blog in the Boston Herald.

kinda funny

So this whole messy bailout thing...you have to admit there is a little something funny about it. Because fiscal conservatives & Republicans are saying no, while Democrats are siding with Bush's plan. Haha!!! I'm sorry...what is this argument about "more of the same"? Democrats siding with Bush. Oh man. Sidesplitter. I seriously laughed in my car for 5 minutes this AM.

I also heard this morning that thanks to Lindsey Graham (who actually read the bill, I applaud him), we now know that some of the repayment turned from the bailout will go to funding corrupt, fraudulent housing programs like ACORN. Whooppee!!! First, my tax dollars going to a mess that I had nothing to do with and is already crashing my retirement fund. And now, any repayment from that will go to fraudulent housing programs that benefit me and this nation in NO way.

I'm thinking about moving soon.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

grand opening: silver comet trail

Saturday is the Grand Opening of The Silver Comet Trail. Yes, yes, it's been open for a while, but now it's completely paved all the way to Alabama, making it the longest paved trail in America!

7:30 AM is the bike sendoff...2:00 PM at the Alabama/Georgia state line is the Ceremony/Party. How appropriate...the same weekend as the huge Alabama/Georgia game.

PDF of details here.

Can't decide if I'm gonna go yet...

review: Wonderworks

date of visit: 9/19/08

taste: 2
service: 4
ambience: 4

My dad took me to the Hoot n Holler dinner show at WonderWorks after our hike. It was very interesting to say the least. The building is really cool, upside down outside and in. I think there's an arcade of sorts inside too, but we didn't go there.

We walked into the 5 pm show and sat on the second level near the railing. We had a pretty good view of the stage. Salad and bread were already on the table, which was good because I was starving!! The salad was pretty good, but the bread was really dry & bland. Our server, Ricky, was really cool and was great on getting us refills. Yum, sweet tea. He also had a small narration part in the show, so that was cool.

Then the entertainment began. I really liked the Scraps character and his antics that involved audience members. Some really, really funny stuff...such as:

Taking 4 grown men, seating them on buckets, making them lay in each other laps, removing buckets, then making them hold each other up in agony. One dude was really sagging, his butt was almost on the ground by the end. Hilarious!

Shooting ping pong balls out of his mouth onto a "force field" held by a very scared looking older dude.

Positioning a young boy just so in order for a picking nose photo op.

Spinning plates.

During the show, our food came out. We had an Italian trio: stuffed shells, baked ziti, and chicken parmesan. Not impressed! The one thing I really liked was the stuffed shells, but alas, there was only 1 shell per person :( The chicken parmesan had a really weird taste to it. The baked ziti was only ok. So, that was disappointing. Don't get me wrong, I was hungry, and I ate everything on my plate. But it could be drastically improved!

For dessert, we had strawberry shortcake, also a little on the skimpy side. I had 3 strawberries on my cake :(

As far as the singers go...they need some lessons. But I really enjoyed the melodrama at the end.

So if you go to Pigeon Forge...Wonderworks is pretty funny. Don't expect much from the food though. I'll definitely be checking out other dinner shows in the future!

top chef tour, details

So I missed the boat on the free tickets to the Top Chef Tour here in Atlanta. Bummer!

But today via The Blissful Glutton I read that the shows are at Piedmont Park's Green market. You can see Richard & Casey cook! No more tickets but you can still show up & try to get in. I'm thinking it's not worth the trouble...I would have really liked to go but I went to Home twice (once for Blais' personal tasting menu). I really liked Casey, but I just think there are other things I'd rather do on my Saturday morning.

Have a bite for me :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

country first, for real

So he's actually walking the walk, not just talking the talk. Refreshing. McCain puts campaign aside and country first. I don't think he's trying to avoid the debate - why would he? It's on foreign policy, one of his fortes. I think he genuinely wants to put the American people first. It'd be nice to have someone like that on our side in the White House, no?

Smoky Mountain pictures

Ok, I posted all the pics from our hike in the Smoky Mountains!
Smoky Mts - Trillium Gap Trail - Grotto Falls

review: Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant

Applewood Farm Restaurant
date of visit: 9/19/08

taste: 3
ambience: 4
service: 4

Mmm. Dad and I stopped for breakfast here (it's tradition!) on the way to the Smokies, but we were too late for breakfast. Sad!

We still got to eat the apple fritters with apple butter. So delicious! They make the trip totally worth it:

Also pictured is the apple julep (apple juice with some other fruit juices).

Our waitress was really nice, and the place was pretty empty (it was a weekday and in between meals). The decor is all countrified and cozy. Think a step up from Cracker Barrel. I got a grilled cheese with fried okra and mac n cheese. Solid. I really liked the bread they used for the grilled cheese. My dad got breakfast, and he enjoyed it, but I think he was expecting more biscuits.

Dad & I outside the Apple Barn gift shop, where you can buy the jars of the apple butter and mixes for apple fritters, apple pancakes...and everything else related to apples.

Breakfast is definitely a must, and the lunch & dinner menu is solid. Yum!

Trillium Gap Trail

Ok so this is only slightly related to running...I've decided that "running" can refer to anything involved in my staying fit for a marathon. And certainly hiking 2.4 miles up & down a mountain is a workout! Just ask my dad :)

If you've been following this blog, you know that for a while I have been really, really into hiking and other such outdoors adventures. So when I went to visit my dad in Knoxville last week, the first thing I wanted to do was some hiking in the Smoky Mountains. No shopping, no Dollywood, no touristy things. Just put me in the big outdoors. So after we got lost & encountered some less than helpful park rangers, we found the Trillium Gap Trail (click to see a pic which mountain our trail went up). The trail went to Grotto Falls, a 25 foot waterfall that you could walk behind. Beautiful and pretty darn cool!

Here we are in the beginning of the trail, crossing over a small stream/mini waterfall:

These pretty flowers were everywhere!

Approaching Grotto Falls:

We made it! Dad flexes his muscles:

Here I am behind the waterfall:

Close up of Grotto Falls, absolutely beautiful!

On the way back to the trailhead:

The trailhead, dad is plumb tuckered out:

I have so many more pictures of this beautiful trail...I will try to post on Picasa soon and link here.

And I think I may be going back in October...anyone want to come along? The leaves should be changing then :)

the early AM plan makes a comeback?

Nahhhh...so as we have seen, I just fail the early AM workout plan. But here is an interesting article on how to make it work. So convincing I may just try it again...but honestly I really like running in the evenings now that the weather has cooled off! :)

letter: vote down the bailout

Via Ryan, here is a letter he wrote to Bush, Paulson, and Georgia senators:

I oppose the proposed bailout plan because I do not believe that Government intervention into the private market is in line with free market capitalism. While I realize that some companies are extremely important to the backbone of this economy, and the world economy as a whole, I do not believe it is within the realm of democracy for the Government to decide to do this.

The Government is setting a horrible example for the future to any major business, whether it be an airline, car company, insurance provider or a banking institution that they need not be afraid of failure. This is the ultimate example of companies making horrible decisions just to turn a little more profit, and failing in the process. That's what free market capitalism is all about though. Millions of businesses come and go through the cycle in the marketplace, and those who are outstanding and conduct their operations properly are the ones who experience lasting power.

This problem, however, stems to a lot more than improper lending and practices. The US Government's position on illegal immigration is also partially to blame. With a tighter control on immigration, the United States would be able to put more low level jobs that are currently occupied by illegal immigrants ( non-tax paying illegal immigrants none the less) into the hands of Americans. With proper work in their lives, perhaps people would learn a little more work ethic that would transfer over to their financial lifestyle.

While lenders are horribly to blame for the housing crisis, the United States citizenry also takes some of that blame on them. If people would learn to live within their means instead of going for the biggest and the best, we would not have such a fallout from the sub-prime mortgages issue. Again, people with jobs learn to live within their means better, hearkening back to my argument on illegal immigration.

Furthermore, our ridiculous support of foreign oil (from OPEC) is playing to the downfall of the economy. While I realize that trade is an important part of every economy, the fact that we are shipping so much of our money outside our borders has contributed to the weakening of the dollar and the downfall of consumer confidence in spending.

It is hard to believe that a Government with a national debt of nearly $10 Trillion has the ability to post a $700 billion bailout for failing (free market) companies. While I agree with the choice to help Fannie May and Freddie Mac (as they already have ties to the Gov't) I don't think this massive sweeping bailout is a good idea.

I hope this letter has some effect on your thoughts on the matter, and I ask you to please vote down the bailout plan.


Ryan Duckworth

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

a new church plant!

So has anyone heard this? I guess it's kind of old news, but I've been out of the Northpoint/Passion loop since graduating (although the beach trip was fun & random). Today I'm roaming a friend's blogs, and I find out that worship leader Chris Tomlin has moved to Atlanta to start a new church with Louie Giglio. Um, wow!!! Not that I would leave my church...it is just really cool that God called them to this city, my city! I can't wait to hear what God does through them. Amazing speaker and amazing worship leader. And on top of that, Matt Redman is moving over from England, and the Nockels too! =)

preventing the next great depression

Here's an interesting article Ryan passed on to me about the bailout vs. Great Depression Lite and Great Depression 2.0. I particularly like the Newt Gingrich reference at the bottom, alternatives to this massive bailout. You can read his article here.

25% off dinner tonight?

I've always wanted to go to South City Kitchen...and it's 25% off dinner tonight! Any takers?

anxious morning

So today hearings are going on about the $700 billion bailout. Eesh. I really, really hope it doesn't go through.

I thought this was some good commentary from Ron Paul. I was starting to think he was going crazy when he endorsed all the third party candidates (how can you endorse 4 different candidates with such different views?), but this article is good. Stop government intervention and let the free markets work! That's the gist of it, if you don't want to read.

Monday, September 22, 2008

cardboard testimonies

Here is something cool...cardboard testimonies. My church celebrated its 25th anniversary yesterday, and part of the service was something like the video below. Members of the church came up and shared their testimony (before & after) on cardboard signs. It was really, really amazing. To see how God is moving through the lives of His children...I was crying through most of the time. It's not really about the stories...it was about how awesome God is. The countless lives and countless changes. And that the same God who saves marriages, cures cancer, brings prodigals home, this is my God. How mighty, how powerful is He?! Nothing is impossible for Him!

tales from knoxville

So I am having technical difficulties with pictures and such, but I promise many exciting posts from my trip to Knoxville:

Applewood Farm Restaurant
Trillium Gap Trail in the Smoky Mountains
Wonderworks/Hoot n Holler Dinner & Show
Mancino's Pizza

Apparently all I do on vacation is eat, haha.

Also from the weekend, a post on Kolb's Farm Loop trail in Kennessaw. Until then...I'll see what else I can come up with.

review: Mimi's Cafe

Mimi's Cafe
date of visit: 9/18/08
Knoxville TN location

taste: 4
service: 5
ambience: 3

I was in Knoxville last week visiting my dad, and our first meal was at Mimi's Cafe. It's a chain, but a little more upscale than Applebee's or TGI Friday's. I was really impressed with 2 things: the muffins and the service.

Starting out the service, our waitress was awesome! She was so nice and attentive. I wish I could remember her name, I would totally drop a compliment to the manager. For ambience, it was pretty empty except for a large party with a very hyperactive young boy. At one point he threw a green plastic football at our table and it landed by my head. This isn't really the restaurant's fault but it made my meal a little less enjoyable. For food, we got the potstickers as an appetizer. Oh man, they were good! I really liked the sauce, it had a hint of orange to it. Then I got mahi mahi and my dad got pot roast. I really liked the mahi mahi, but I didn't much like the avocado/artichoke salsa on top of it. The choice was between the salsa and the lemon caper sauce (I hate capers). The salsa was ok but it overpowered the fish, it was really citrus-y and there was too much of it. My dad's pot roast was pretty good, very tender.

Then, we skipped dessert and ordered 4 lemon cream cheese muffins to go. We also had some of the muffins as "bread" before the meal. DELICIOUS. So big and so rich. You have to try one! I'm so glad there's a Mimi's here in ATL so I can keep getting these muffins, and hopefully try a new flavor soon!

Friday, September 19, 2008

really don't like this guy

Keith Olbermann. Really don't like this guy. Here I am innocently watching the Today Show, and I see a little promo for his show, Countdown. And guess what he's doing..."For every lie she [shot of Sarah Palin] tells, he [shot of Olbermann] donates to charity." Wowwww. NBC has really stooped to a new low, if this is for real and not just some TV promo ploy. I think one of the other networks needs an Obama lie meter as well, and let's see at the end of the year which one has raised more money for charity...through lies. How ridiculous is this? Charity...lies. Something does not compute.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

review: Swan Coach House

Swan Coach House
date of visit: 9/13/08

taste: 4
ambience: 5

My mom & one of her best friends came up this past weekend, and we enjoyed a delicious lunch at the Swan Coach House. I had been here once before for a bridesmaids' luncheon, and ever since telling my mom about that luncheon, she has wanted to go to the Swan Coach House. So that's what we did.

The funny thing about the Swan Coach House is that very few men eat there. In fact, when we went, there were no men in the dining room. Over the course of 2 hours, I saw 2 men total. It is a very popular place for bridal showers, baby showers, girly lunches, and old lady get-togethers. I only say this about the old ladies because the first time I went, I didn't have any cash to tip the valet, but he smiled and said "don't worry, the old ladies will take care of us just fine."

I personally love this place. It's very stately looking, and tucked away from the bustle of Buckhead. It is very classic Southern...from the wallpaper to the chandeliers to the patterned chairs...so if that's not your cup of tea, don't expect to enjoy it. But, if you've grown up in the South, this place will feel like home to you. Cheery and colorfully decorated. The only problem is that the service does not mirror the Southern theme. When I went with my mom, our server was pretty slow and often seem rushed. Which was fine, we weren't in a hurry, but it still wasn't the Southern hospitality we were expecting.

The food is really good. Not amazing, but solid and delicious. My mom got crab crakes, that while small, were packed with crabmeat. Mmm. Her friend got the salmon nicoise salad, and she said it was delicous. I got the "Swan's favorite": chicken salad in heart-shaped timbales and frozen fruit salad. The frozen fruit salad is my favorite. It's light and packed with all different kinds of fruit. The perfect summer treat! I really like the presentation of it, I guess they freeze a cylinder of the salad and then slice it into disks? It looks really cool.

There is also a gift shop, art gallery, and the Atlanta History Center is right next door.

Unfortunately, we forgot a camera to document our quality girl time, but here's a favorite pic of my mom & I, just to give a shoutout to her :)


So I don't know very much beyond the basics of economics. But when the stock market loses 300 points in one day, and the government bails out companies left and right while leaving others out in the cold, I have to wonder...what should I do?

My honest first impressions: not happy with the government right now. It's like they are rewarding failure. Have we forgotten how free markets work? Some businesses will fail, others will succeed. That's just how it goes. Is it really necessary for the government to step in and buy these companies with my (and your) hard-earned money? Or have we been fooled into thinking the U.S. is capitalist?

If anyone has any answers, I would love to hear them. Or advice. Since my retirement funds have lost significant amounts of money this year, and it's not looking like that trend is going to stop. I wonder if I should stop contributing and save that money for now. Or should I have the hope that things will get better, and 20 years from now, that money will have grown? I don't want to panic. I just want some real answers!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

love this girl

One of the blogs I love to read is Meghan McCain's. She seems like such a cool girl and is always sharing tons of pics from the campaign trail. She's not too much younger than me, so it makes the McCain world all that more accessible and relatable. Anyway, she was on Larry King last night and I thought it was cool:

no love, no money

Interesting...Democrats running for seats in the Senate need help...and Obama says no.

Then Biden releases his tax returns and we see that over 10 years, Biden donated 1/8th of 1% of his income to charity. Wow.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Countdown to Victory

I attended the GOP's Countdown to Victory rally this weekend. It was really fun...just a little taste of what it must be like at the McCain-Palin rallies. Pretty much all the big name Republicans were there...

Gov. Perdue took the podium, with everyone looking on: U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, Secretary of State Karen Handel, School Superintendent Kathy Cox, Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, Rep. Tom Price, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, Rep. Phil Gingrey, GAGOP Chairwoman Sue Everhart, radio host Herman Cain.

Of course the star of the morning was U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss who is up for re-election this fall:

His wife Julianne gave a little intro before him, she was really cute.

I have to say my favorite speaker was Gov. Perdue. I really respect what he's done as governor, and he's always a great speaker (I got to meet him in college and he was just such a nice guy). My favorite part was when he mentioned Obama's paid volunteers leaving the state. Har har. And Isakson also gave some spirited remarks - "who does Charlie Gibson think he is anyway?" I also enjoyed the pledge of allegiance. I haven't done it in who knows how long...hey I am really proud to be an American and pledge my allegiance to our flag!

Oh and duh, the BEST part: John McCain called in. Interrupted Gov. Perdue's speech, Perdue was like "I didn't even bring my cell phone, who could be calling?" Then McCain said hello and the whole room erupted into cheers. Pretty cool. The first thing he said "how bout that Sarah Palin?" to which the room erupted into more cheers. It was a great, diverse crowd, young & old. And we got our McCain-Palin signs & bumper stickers :)

i'm rich

So I have been reading 40 Day Spiritual Journey to a More Generous Life. Our whole church is reading it together as we embark on a pretty huge capital campaign for expansion. The book is pretty cool, every day is a bunch of different verses about giving. 40 days, each with 5 or so different passages - who knew there were so many unique verses about giving? It's also cool because it's really been stretching my faith in the area of giving...remember back when I was reading Celebration of Discipline?

But that's not what I want to talk about...
The cool and convicting thing I read about today is this website - the Global Rich List. I have felt reeeeally strapped for money lately (which is another story in itself). But then I put my income into this website, and yeah. I am really, really rich. I'm in the top 3.75% in the world. The world. Just something to think about! Try it out.

Friday, September 12, 2008


So last night I got home from running and noticed I had missed a call from the 402 area code. I don't know anyone with a 402 area code...quick check revealed that it was Nebraska. Now I'm really stumped. I had a friend call them back from my phone (I'm chicken) and lo and behold...Gallup Poll!!! Aw man. I could have been a statistic!

And for all these silly liberals who think that only landlines are getting the poll call...think again. It happened to me. And I don't have a landline.

clean up those smears!

Great article debunking some of the Palin (negative) myths out there.

Sure wish journalists would take their job more seriously!

rally tomorrow

In case you're around and want to go to a GOP rally for McCain-Palin (I'm going!):

Countdown to Victory Rally
Please join Senator Saxby Chambliss and Julianne Chambliss, along with Governor Sonny Perdue, Senator Johnny Isakson, Secretary of State Karen Handel, School Superintendent Kathy Cox, Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, Congressman Tom Price, Congressman Phil Gingrey, GA GOP Chairwoman Sue Everhart and Special Guest US Senator Richard Burr, and other elected officials to kick off and begin the countdown to Victory in November!
Saturday, September 13
11:00 AM

Renaissance Waverly Hotel
Habersham Ballroom
2450 Galleria Parkway
Atlanta, GA 30339

RSVP: georgia at johnmccain dot com

McCain Palin yard signs and bumper stickers will be available


What's going on in Knoxville?

Gas shortages & mania at the pumps in response to Hurricane Ike. I got the eyewitness report from my dad this morning. I just don't understand it...no one in Atlanta is freaking out (that I know of). Anyone else out there experiencing a run on gasoline? Should I be worried?

new shoes!

It was that time again...where I could feel the rocks through my soles and the cushions of air had disappeared...

New shoes! Upgraded from the Mizuno Wave Rider to the Mizuno Wave Creation. The Creation model features the air wave all the way through the sole, as opposed to just halfway in the Rider. And they were $20 off at Sports Authority.

Aren't they PRETTY?! I'm in love. This is motivation!

go girl

Palin takes tough stance on Russia

Alright, she's on her own and she can articulate her foreign policy stance just fine.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Take a minute to remember today our fellow Americans who lost their lives, and take a minute to remember today our fellow Americans who are valiantly serving to ensure our freedom.

Also found this on Hot Air - powerful stuff.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

respect & love

I like this - a sign at a rally - "America respects John McCain, America loves Sarah Palin." That really just struck me as wow. I want to respect & love my leaders. Could anyone say those 2 words of Obama-Biden?

On to the economy...McCain-Palin vs. Obama-Biden.

The funny thing here is how fleshed out & coherent McCain-Palin plan is. I really like the last words "In the first 100 days of our administration, we will look at every agency and department and expenditure of the federal government and ask this simple question: Is it serving the needs of the taxpayer? If it is not, we will reform it or shut it down, and we will spend money only on what is truly in the interest of the American people."

But then you get to Obama and the article is aptly named "Obama 3.0" - obviously he doesn't know what he's talking about and is continually having to change his plan. And then when you actually try to understand his plan, it's just a bunch of numbers and percentages that I don't really get. I wish he would be more straight with us about what he's going to do if elected.

review: Orient Express

Orient Express
date of visit: 9/7/08

taste: 4
service: 4
ambience: 4.5

Happy Birthday Ryan! I took Ryan out for his 25th birthday. Old man. We've already eaten sushi here and enjoyed it, but we never had the money or excuse to try the hibachi. So I'm glad it was Ryan's birthday because I really enjoyed our dinner!

We ate really early, right after we left a losing Braves game (we ended up watching the end of it as our seats were in perfect view of a flatscreen tv). The service was really good, but I have to take a kiwi off because our waitress messed up our order (but caught it early enough to not affect our meal). I really really liked our hibachi chef, JoJoe. Not only did he share the name of the Braves pitcher that day, he was also half filipino! He made fun of my lack of tagalog speaking skills. And he pulled the ancient trick of pretending to squirt me with sauce. Yes, I freaked out and let out a little squeal. But then we all had a good laugh. Funny thing is that I warned Ryan that sometimes the fun hibachi chefs will do that. I fell for it anyway!

The food was great! I always enjoy the ginger dressing on the salad. The soup was decent, nothing to write home about. We tried 2 sushi rolls: your standard Philly roll and the more adventurous Orient Express roll. The Orient Express roll wasn't really a roll, it was more of a tall stack cut into slices that resembled train cars. Which was really cute seeing as we were eating in a train car. I guess I should have mentioned that earlier...the charm of Orient Express is that it's a big silver train car divided into 3 dining rooms (Chinese food, sushi bar, hibachi grill). It's really cute. I'm a sucker for cute.

Moving on to the hibachi, I got the shrimp & scallop combo and Ryan got the filet mignon & shrimp combo. Our chef also threw some chicken in there just to be nice I guess? I'm so glad he did because the chicken was great! The scallops were the real stars, they were cooked so perfectly, I can't even put into words how good they were! I forgot that there were sauces to dip the meats in, I was so absorbed in eating the delicious scallops. The shrimp & filet were also good. If I had to rank in order of tastiness, I would says scallops, chicken, filet, and shrimp.

Then our waitress brought out a slice of banana sponge cake. It was good, light & airy. The best part was hearing a bunch of cute Asian ladies signing "happy birthday" to Ryan. Such a great memory! Definitely worth the experience...although for a regular dinner, it is a little pricey!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

almost forgot these

They had professional photographers at the Peachtree Road Race. I ordered 2 of the pictures of me, and scanned them for you to see! Here they are:

Me & Ryan @ Lenox before the race

Crossing the finish line! I look so hardcore, hehe.

Top Chef Tour!

Oh my gosh I want to go! Who else wants to go?

Top Chef Tour
coming to Atlanta on Sep 27!

The only thing I haven't figured out yet...how to get the free tickets. I guess I just keep checking their website until I can click on Atlanta?

Friday, September 5, 2008

sandy springs, ga

So if you watched the RNC last night via CNN, you might have noticed that they cut to shots of "Sandy Springs, Georgia" every now and then. Well guess what...yours truly was there!

Fulton County GOP Chairman Shawn Hanley on conference call with Sen. Saxby Chambliss:

It was great hearing from Sen. Chambliss while he was at the Convention!

Everyone listening intently to McCain's acceptance speech:

Me & my sister-grandma Raegan, formerly Chairman of the GT College Republicans & graduate of Harvard Law (I'm proud to be in her sister-family!):


I thought McCain's speech last night was truly inspiring. No, he does not have the speaking talent of Palin or Obama, but he has authenticity, grit, and honesty. And that made for a gripping speech last night.

Not only did he gives his story from his side, he also laid out his policies. I would have liked more detail, but the speech was pretty long so I don't think much more detail could have been fit in! What I liked most was his bit at the end:

"If you find faults with our country, make it a better one. If you’re disappointed with the mistakes of government, join its ranks and work to correct them. Enlist in our Armed Forces. Become a teacher. Enter the ministry. Run for public office. Feed a hungry child. Teach an illiterate adult to read. Comfort the afflicted. Defend the rights of the oppressed. Our country will be the better, and you will be the happier. Because nothing brings greater happiness in life than to serve a cause greater than yourself."

Why do I like this so much? Because he emphasized a huge point that I think the Democrats are completely oblivious to: personal responsibility. Every single American is responsible for this country. We don't want government getting bigger, controlling more aspects of our lives. And if Washington is broken, we are the ones that can fix it. You. Me. Each one of us. That's what McCain believes. That's what I believe.

"Fight with me. Fight with me.

Fight for what’s right for our country.

Fight for the ideals and character of a free people.

Fight for our children’s future.

Fight for justice and opportunity for all.

Stand up to defend our country from its enemies.

Stand up for each other; for beautiful, blessed, bountiful America.

Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. Nothing is inevitable here. We’re Americans, and we never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history."

And as a side note...it looks like McCain's speech outperformed Obama's in ratings. Amazing.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

diggin this music

I just got this CD last week, and I'm really digging it. I listen to it when talk radio is on break in my car! I'm such a nerd. It comes from Hillsong in Australia.

My favorite song is From the Inside Out...but another song that has really ministered to me is More to See. The lyrics from Lamentations...

His mercies are new every morning
His mercies are new every day

In A Woman's Heart, we just finished learning about the manna in the desert, how the Israelites had to go out and gather it every morning. What really struck me from this week was how we have to put the effort in to gather up the manna, gather up the mercies of the Lord. Get in the Word, get into prayer, get into laying out everything before the Lord. EVERY DAY. How often do I wonder where God's mercies are...and then I realize that I have not gone out to gather them! Or that I have waited so long and not sought Him on a daily basis.

And then how cool is it that the Creator of the universe wants a daily relationship with me! :)

Sorry if the thoughts are rambling...but I thought a break from politics would be nice :)

Lam. 3:22-24
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.

obama's response

The Obama camp responds to the "community organizer" remarks:

"Throughout our history, ordinary people have made good on America's promise by organizing for change from the bottom up. Community organizing is the foundation of the civil rights movement, the women's suffrage movement, labor rights, and the 40-hour workweek."

David Plouffe
Obama's Campaign Manager

So then...what exactly did Obama do when he organized his community? Hm? The response is vague and undefining. Will we ever know what Obama did as a community organizer, if he did anything at all?

the morning after

what's on CNN this morning after Palin's rockin speech?


Glenn Beck on what John McCain should speak on tonight.

He writes out a speech for McCain...and I'll go ahead and spoil the end for you. The speech he presents is actually excerpted from Ronald Reagan's 1980 Republican Convention acceptance speech.

Not so impressive:

Biden's response makes me wonder if he actually was listening to Palin's speech. CNN titles the article "Style but no substance." He does say that her speech was impressive & well-delivered, but then he mentions the things that she didn't say. Hello! She didn't have to say the word "middle-class" - we all knew who she was talking to because she is the "middle-class." She skillfully spoke on our energy crisis, which she directly related to the economy & foreign powers. It was anything but empty rhetoric!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

ok, i couldn't wait

I'm so pumped up right now that I decided to go ahead and post first impressions & favorite quotes from tonight's Republican Convention. I was gonna wait til tomorrow, but I'm so awake right now! And excited! Because I feel like everyone who spoke tonight, and especially Sarah Palin...they GET America. They're PROUD of America. That gives me hope for our country.

LINKS UPDATED --Will try to update with links tomorrow...I'm too excited about what I saw to look for links for everything!

Ok so I started watching CSPAN around 8:30...but the first speaker I really started paying attention to was Mitt Romney. He was good, and was then followed by Mike Huckabee, who was also good. Huckabee told a great story about a teacher and desks.

Then things really ramped up. Linda Lingle, the Hawaii governor who I've never really heard of, had a pretty good speech defending & extolling Sarah Palin. My favorite points from her:

Delaware has the same # of delegates as Alaska
Sarah Palin got more votes for mayor than Biden got from the whole nation for President of the United States

Alright, up next was Giuliani. Favorite quotes:

advice to Obama regarding his flubbing of the Georgia/Russia crisis: "Next time call John McCain."
on Obama's experience: "community organizer (pause) what?" laughs - I laughed SO hard at this point.
his last point on the media's questioning of Palin's mothering abilities: "How dare they...when do they ever ask a man that question?"

Then, Sarah Palin:

"difference between hockey mom and a pitbull...lipstick"
"small towns...hardest jobs...growing our food, working in our factories, fighting our wars...always proud of America"
on being a mayor: "like a community organizer, but with actual responsibilities"
"I'm not going to Washington to seek [liberal media] good opinion. I'm here to serve the people of this great nation."
on reasons to run for office: "to challenge status quo...leave this nation better than we found it."
"Some use change to promote career...some like John McCain use career to promote change."
"There's only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you."

cute moment: camera focuses in on Piper Palin licking her hand and then smoothing down little baby Trig Palin's hair. aw!!!

yeah!!! great night for Republicans :)


Where America's day begins!

I'm sorry but it's too funny watching the Republican roll call of states...the Governor of Guam let us all know that Guam is where America's day begins! Too funny.

God Bless America!

Thoughts on Republican convention & Sarah Palin's great speech to come...

more on experience

GREAT video. must watch!

Is anyone else out there as excited about Palin's speech tonight as I am? I'm SO excited!

Also check out this heartening article (found on Hot Air this AM) about a Democrat voting for Sarah Palin.

fashion politics

Ok...so this is kind of unrelated. But you have to admit in comparison to the Democrats (I'm mostly thinking Hillary - check out the rainbow of pantsuits), the Republican women have got the fashion thing down! I am really digging Cindy McCain's dress. I would wear that today. She kind of reminds me of Jackie O, very classy!

I even love Laura Bush's outfit. She looks stately but not stuffy. I hope to dress half as well as these women when I grow up :)

what is experience?

I really like this article by Thomas Sowell. He gives a thorough examination of past presidents, governors etc and their foreign policy "experience" before taking office. Interesting stuff!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

review: two urban licks

Two Urban Licks
date of visit: 8/29/08

taste: 3.5
ambience: 5
service: 3

For restaurant week, I went with 2 girlfriends to Two Urban Licks. We were immediately confused by the valet system, but once we got the entrance of the restaurant, we were wowed by the cavernous interior, dramatic lighting (big red lanterns of all different shapes), comfy pillows in the booths, and outdoor patio with amazing view of the skyline. What we were not wowed by was our service, as it took 15-20 minutes to finally get a drink order. At one point, a random guy came and took the rubberbands off our napkins...but he didn't say anything or even crack a smile at us. Very strange. Our waiter, while nice (he comped drinks & cupcakes, and did a great Christopher Walken impression), was very nonchalant about checking on us, which was very aggravating.

But...I guess the food made up for it! We did the $25 tasting menu. Our appetizers were all around good. I had a caesar salad that was reeeeeally spicy! Different but delicious. I really liked the spicy croutons. I also really liked Susan's cheese fritters. We all know how much I love melted cheese. Lauren got the rocket salad which was very pretty, and she liked it.

Then for main dishes, Lauren & Susan got the pork with mac n cheese:

I tasted a little bit of the pork and was surprised at how tender & juicy it was. Mmm.

I decided to be different and got the shrimp:

The flavors were really good, and the shrimp was cooked perfectly (and there were a lot of shrimp!) But I got frustrated trying to cut up all the veggies so I could eat them...and it took me so long to eat that the dish seemed to get saltier the longer it sat. Otherwise, good.

Then dessert:

Cupcakes! In addition to our chocolate chip cookies from the tasting menu. It was my "birthday." yeahhh...dessert was good but not as good as the other courses.

Me & Susan, full & happy after the meal:

Word to the wise: definitely, definitely make reservations. When we left around 9:30, the valet told us it was a 3 hour wait for dinner. eesh!

When I go back, I'd definitely order only appetizers (there were sooo many good ones I wanted to try on the menu). I'm such an appetizer type person, and I enjoyed the appetizers here more than anything else.

Monday, September 1, 2008

new hope

My running schedule has been pretty stagnant for the past month. I haven't run much farther than 7 miles since my 14 mile run. I have plenty of reasons...inclement weather, unbearably hot weather, busy schedule, blah blah blah. And recently, I've had some personal stuff that's really been getting me down to the point where I have no motivation to run.

I went running today and only made it through 3 miles before I just stopped. I didn't want to go on. It's weird because when I was younger, I used to run whenever I had problems. And I would run and run and run, at any time of day, if I was frustrated with anything. But now, I just lose hope and stop. It's frustrating and sad. But it just proves to me that 90% of running truly is psychological. If in my head I can believe past all my problems that I can do it, I can. I know my body can, because I've seen my body do it. It's my mind that is holding me back. We win, we lose...but can I believe enough to get me through each win & loss?

Well I was walking at the end, and approached where I had left my water, and I found this:

Aw! I cried. I sat down and cried. How can I be so narrow-focused that I miss the people in my life who really, truly love me and support all my efforts? There my water cup was refilled and the sweetest message spelled out on the driveway. There is hope ahead of me, I just have to keep at the foremost of my mind. Not just in running...in everything.

"This is a blessing."

she really is all-around amazing

yes I've heard about Palin's daughter.

No comment on that.

In the area of good news, I found this article about Palin being an avid runner! How cool is that =)


I saw this on Fox News earlier this evening:

Fowler has since apologized, but man, isn't that sick? Laughing about the possible misfortunes of thousands of innocent people because it might hurt the Republicans. Democrats...ugh.

Thoughts & prayers to Louisiana tonight.