June 29, 2014

2 months of no straightening…check!

Friday morning, I went to the salon and got my hair conditioned, hydrated, and straightened! I wore my hair in it's natural state using no-heat styles for two months straight. And during those two months I finally learned what styles and products work for my hair. Figuring all that out really made me start loving and embracing my curls, regardless of how they looked on a particular day. But I wanted my hair straight for this weekend and I love how it turned out.

My color looks a little redder than when it was first done, but I still love it.

I'll probably keep it straight for a couple of weeks before returning back to the no-heat styles. I'm determined to get another no-heat month in so that I can cross this item off my year 23 bucket list!

June 28, 2014

Summer road trip playlist

Happy Saturday! I'm headed to Savannah, GA (southeastern Georgia/coastal/historic city) today with my boyfriend -- we're going to a friend's wedding and we're celebrating our 1 year anniversary. So exciting and a day I've really been looking forward to :) For our trip, I've made a couple of playlists and I wanted to share one with you. This includes some of my favorite songs for this summer and I think they are perfect for jamming on the road. Let me know what you think.

Leave a comment with you favorite song for this summer!

June 27, 2014

Eating in ATL {True Food Kitchen}

Tuesday night marked an Atlanta first for me. I got to try out a new restaurant on it's opening day! My friend Morgan and I met for dinner at True Food Kitchen's newest location (Buckhead/Atlanta). Ever since I incorporated clean eating into my lifestyle, I've been searching for healthy restaurant options in Atlanta. So imagine my excitement when I heard True Food Kitchen was coming to Atlanta. 

True Food Kitchen's motto is "honest food that tastes really good." And their menu totally supports that mindset. I was so indecisive in ordering because everything sounded so good. I love how creative they get with fruits and vegetables to create delicious, unique, and healthy meals.

Morgan and I both ordered one of their Natural Refreshments. I ordered the Cucumber Refresher (cucumber & honey lemonade) and Morgan ordered the Watermelon Lemonade (watermelon and honey lemonade). When you go, you have to try one of these drinks! For our appetizer we ordered the Caramelized Onion Tart (highly recommended by two staff members) and now I know why. This tart was the perfect starter for our dinner and the ingredients work together so well.

For my meal I ordered the Inside Out Quinoa Burger which came with these diced sweet potatoes.

This. Burger. Was. Everything. I have had enough burgers in my life to judge the good from the bad and this was the healthiest burger I've had and one of the most delicious. So the quinoa actually makes up the "buns" of the burger and the veggies & hummus are on the inside. It's brilliant and it was such a filling and satisfying meal.

Morgan ordered the Red Chili Shrimp (also highly recommend by a staff member) and it was so good! Tasted better than most shrimp dishes I've had and way fewer calories. And she said she was full after her meal.

True Food Kitchen is attached to Lenox Mall, near the new Sprinkles Cupcakes! They have valet parking and free parking for the lot and garage. Even though it was their opening day, the food, service, and atmosphere were on point! I would go to this place every week if it was closer to my home/work. But I will absolutely be back very soon!

June 25, 2014

Weekend recap {Fort Lauderdale and Miami}

Florida. Was. Awesome. I spent this past Thursday night through Sunday afternoon in the Fort Lauderdale/Miami area, visiting my friend Jasmine who's been living there for almost a year. (I appreciate when my friends move away to cool cities for new jobs = new places for me to visit.)

Getting to Florida was a little bit of a struggle because of weather delays. But as soon as I arrived, none of that mattered and Jasmine and I took some selfies before grabbing a bite to eat.

We ended up snacking at 100 Montaditos, a Spain-based restaurant with some locations across the U.S. Funny thing is, this was one of our favorite spots when Jasmine and I studied abroad in Spain a few years ago.

The beautiful view from Jasmine's apartment in Fort Lauderdale.

Me, Jasmine, and her friend Marissa before heading to Miami on Friday afternoon.

My favorite photo of us from the weekend :)

The Miami skyline is beyond gorgeous - I couldn't even get all of it in one photo. I really wish Atlanta had some water nearby like this.

Friday night, we ate at Burger Fi for dinner. It was my first time trying it and I loved their quinoa burger! They just opened a new location in Midtown Atlanta so I will be visiting and blogging about it soon.

Loved this photo of Jasmine from Friday night in Midtown Miami - the street art and murals in their art district are incredible. 

Loved these spray painted quotations along the sidewalks around Midtown Miami. We went out to this place called Wood Tavern. It was super crowded and a cool spot.

Saturday morning started a little late, but we made it out of the house in time to get brunch at a place called Tap 42. Fort Lauderdale knows how to brunch. The set up of Tap 42 and the menu was insane. 

I finally decided on their White Chocolate Strawberry Pancakes. I did not want to stop eating these, so delicious. Literally my favorite ingredients combined into one meal.

After brunch we headed to Miami Beach. But ugh, it started raining and storming so our beach trip was short-lived.

Luckily, Jasmine has a friend who lives in Downtown Miami and we stopped by his place to chill and wait out the rain. Such a sweet view.

While still in Miami, we went to an area called Brickell to grab food and drinks and walk around. I love the different neighborhoods and buildings in Miami. You can definitely feel the diversity of cultures and Spanish influence throughout the city. This particular area really reminded me of Europe with all of the outdoor seating - loved it!

At a restaurant in Brickell (don't remember what it was called!) I had these brussels sprouts. Maybe the only healthy thing I ate this weekend, and the tastiest.

Sunday morning we had brunch at a different spot called The Foxy Brown in Fort Lauderdale. We did have to wait a while, but it was so worth it. I was determined to try these s'mores waffles. Just look at them - waffle pieces covered in burnt marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers. Sugar rush and great last meal in Florida before heading to the airport to fly back to Atlanta.

It was a much needed trip. As much as I love working and Atlanta, I needed a change of scenery and a break from work. I'm feeling completely refreshed this week after my vacation and happy to be back home!

June 24, 2014

Eating in ATL {Smokebelly BBQ}

Attention Atlanta BBQ lovers: I have a new place for you to try and fall in love with - Smokebelly BBQ. Before I go into the details of the food, my three favorite aspects about the newest BBQ restaurant in Atlanta are the southern-themed atmosphere and decor, the incredible and warming service, and the Cherry Coke BBQ sauce. Keep reading.

I tried out Smokebelly with my best friend Shayla, a fellow foodie. Even with my new Pescatarian lifestyle, I had plenty of options and felt more than welcomed at this BBQ restaurant.

We both started with drinks - white wine for her and the From the Vine cocktail  for me. Their cocktail list is one of the best I've seen in Atlanta, it was really hard to pick one!

They start every table with a basket of pork rinds - some restaurants pass out bread, but this is their starter. Love it! Shayla really enjoyed these and even added some hot sauce to them.

Next, we each ordered an appetizer. I ordered the Disco Q fries (meatless) with sweet q sauce, scallions, and ranch drizzle. These were so tasty, and the ranch drizzle was the perfect sauce.

Shayla ordered the Smokebelly Lettuce Wraps with charred corn, blue cheese, red peppers, cherry tomatoes, smoked almonds, and citrus cilantro vinaigrette.

Another look at these unbelievable fries. So. Good.

For her entree, Shayla ordered the Grilled Georgia Mountain Trout with kale and chilled sweet corn & edamame "succotash." She loved her meal and thought the veggies were delicious.

Along with kale, I ordered macaroni and cheese (my weakness) as one of my sides. Really cheesy and tasty.

For my entree, I ordered the BBQ Glazed Grilled Salmon. I've had BBQ salmon at a few places and this was my far my favorite! This was a really light, tender, and tasty meal. Our server, Nick, offered to bring out Smokebelly's special sauces, including the Cherry Coke BBQ sauce. I'm a Georgia girl, can't say no to something with "Coke" in the title. Nick brought out this sauce and after I tried it…omg, unreal. Thank you for the suggestion, Nick, and for being an all-around amazing server!

I dipped my salmon and sides into the Cherry Coke BBQ sauce because I just couldn't get enough. It's a must try!

After all of that delicious food, we made room for trying one of Smokebelly's desserts. 

Their Coca-Cola cake sounded so good, but we settled on the Banana Creme Brûlée. Such a good decision. I'm not even a banana pudding fan and I loved this sweet treat. The pieces of banana mixed with the rich custard burnt top layer was impressive and addictive.

 I'm grateful to be one of Smokebelly's first customers and I can't wait to go back and try other items on their menu. 

Welcome to Atlanta, Smokebelly! See other places I eat in the city.

Dinner for two (℅)

June 23, 2014

Things to consider when touring a college campus

I'm back from a crazy fun trip to Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Florida! I can't wait to tell you more and show photos (of all the yummy, unhealthy food I ate) very soon.

 While I was in Florida, I got to see a few college campuses and all of them were busy with visiting prospective students and families. It reminded me of my last summer of high school when I went on trips with my family to visit schools up north because I was so convinced I wanted to go to college in New York City…until I actually visited the campuses. It's one thing to see photos and read brochures on the schools you're interested in, and it's another thing to actually make a physical visit and see how being on the campus really feels

 I get emails with this question quite often, "How do you know which college is best for you?" and that's a tough one to answer because only you know what's best for you. But, these are three important things to consider when visiting one of your prospective schools that can help you make the best decision for you!

1.  Day in the life of a student | When you visit a college, I encourage you to ask your tour guide or any friendly student what their typical day looks like. This can tell you so much more about a college than any brochure or ranking. Current students are usually willing to share their experiences with prospective students because they've been in your place. It's great to be on a college campus and hear how a current student participates or doesn't participate with the campus on an average day. It's helpful to hear when a student wakes up, how their class schedule works, if they have room for other activities before/in between/after classes, and how much they enjoy the average week on campus.

2. Campus values & culture | Another important thing to consider is if the college's values are aligned with your values. If you're very adamant about recycling and living "green," you may be more interested in a college campus with an organized and effective recycling program and energy efficient buildings. Or if you believe in a particular faith, you may want to attend a college that has programs supporting that faith. In my case, I appreciated that my college supported student involvement, student leadership, diversity and inclusion, academic rigor, research opportunities, and the overall culture of achievement. When you're visiting a college, be observant and take notes on the things you see or hear that you like and/or don't like. Different people have different non-negotiables. 

3. Does it feel like home/do you want to stay? | I remember visiting some schools up north and feeling so uncomfortable and out of my element. Even though the academic programs were interesting and well-ranked, I just could not see myself living on campus or walking to class in an area that didn't seem like a true college campus. I visited several schools that just didn't feel like home and I was ready to leave soon after arriving. And then there were a few schools that I could easily imagine myself going to and enjoying the campus life. I did not want my visits on those campuses to end and they felt like home. When I was an orientation leader at my college and I talked to incoming freshmen about why they chose to attend Georgia Tech, the most common answer was "it just felt like home."

What made you decide on your college?

June 19, 2014

Headed to Fort Lauderdale, FL

So…I'm headed to Fort Lauderdale, Florida for the weekend! This trip crept up on me and I literally packed my bag last night after meeting up with a friend for dinner. I'm going to visit my friend Jasmine who I traveled around Europe with a few summers ago for a study abroad program. My hair is Florida ready - I'll be rocking the big curls all weekend. (I accomplished this look with a braid-out and rolling the ends of my hair.) And I'm eager to see a beach for the first time this summer.

 Living one state over, I've traveled to Florida many times but it's been a while since I've been to the Fort Lauderdale/Miami area. I am beyond excited for a vacation and change of scenery. This week has been fantastic - work was enjoyable, I got to spend several nights with friends, and my company gained five new clients. I'm so grateful for these blessings and I hope that you've had a great week too!

Image via Google
If you have any recommendations for places to go/food to eat while I'm there, please leave a comment below!

June 18, 2014

Sky Zone Atlanta {review}

Yes, that's me - jumping in a giant room full of trampolines! Recently, my boyfriend and I had a double date with two friends at Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park…not your traditional double date, right? But it was so much fun! It was all of our first time at Sky Zone so it was cool to experience something new together. The gym is organized into sections or stations - a giant jumping room where they ask that jumpers separate by size/age, a foam pit for flipping into, a basketball area where you can slam dunk with the help of a trampoline, a dodgeball arena, and a viewing area for sitting and eating.

We went to the Roswell location, but there are a few other Georgia locations as well. The staff at Sky Zone were very friendly and stressed the importance of safety while jumping - I appreciated both of these aspects. The prices for jumping also weren't bad; although they have been known to put coupons on Groupon and Living Social before. You'll also have to purchase a pair of orange "Sky Socks" on your first visit. Even though there were lots of people (and loud kids) in the gym, it was a very enjoyable experience and it never felt too crowded. I got to relive my gymnastics and tumbling days by throwing back handsprings and forward tucks - so fun!

Honestly, I was exhausted after our hour time limit for jumping. I think an hour is a great amount of time to purchase for your first visit - you can always purchase more time if you want to jump longer! I read that they also offer fitness classes, which sounds like a great workout! I definitely recommend visiting your local Sky Zone for a unique family or couple outing :)

Is there a Sky Zone in your state and have you been?

June 17, 2014

2015 kate spade large agenda {review}

Ironically, I was online browsing for a new agenda on the same day that Lifeguard Press asked me to review a 2015 kate spade agenda; too good to be true! I chose to review the large agenda in the Painterly Cheetah print. I loved this shade of green and animal print never goes out of style. My second favorite print is the classic Black Stripe print. Of course these are beautiful on the outside, but I was curious to see if the contents of the agenda would suit my busy schedule's needs. Once I received my agenda, I flipped through every section and I knew this was the agenda for me. Check out some of my favorite aspects of this agenda:

The monthly quotations. I love the little statements printed throughout the agenda for each month. Here's a sneak peek at the quotation for August - "Skip the formalities."

The front pocket. After years of having paper planners, these have become a necessity for me. I use front pockets for business cards, stamps, and other important notes. The pocket on this agenda is the perfect size!

The mylar-covered tabs. I love that these tabs are protected because in the past, I've had tabs on my agendas tear - I use my agenda all throughout the day!

The gold binder ring. I love all things gold and this gold binding for the agenda compliments the green interior perfectly. I love how simple, yet creative and sophisticated the inside and outside of this agenda looks.

The monthly view. Nice-sized squares for me to write down events, meetings, and my class/work schedule.

The weekly view. Enough space for me to write down my daily assignments and to-do lists.

I am so obsessed with this new agenda and I'm literally counting down the days until I can start using it! 


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