the city of lakes

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Did you know Orlando is known as the "City of Lakes"? Did you also know Orlando is only like 30 minutes from the closest beach? I didn't. Geography has never been my strongest suit (although I'd love to go to every single place on the map!), so I learned a couple factoids on my trip to Orlando this past weekend.

Saturday was the final Taste of the Nation event for my region, and it happened to be in the home of Harry Potter world and those famous mouse ears. My manager, Jamie, and I didn't have time to visit any of the parks, but we did go to Downtown Disney on Friday night. We had dinner at House of Blues and the food was surprisingly good. I had prepped myself for stupid, touristy food. After dinner, we headed to the Boardwalk and checked out Jellyrolls Dueling Piano Bar before heading back to the hotel.

Random side story. Jamie and I went to Arby's for lunch on Friday. They happen to be a huge Share Our Strength supporter (so go eat their food!!), and I noticed they had one of our stickers in the drive-thru. Obviously, I had to take a picture, but it ending up being the world's worst angle for the teller. Sorry, lady!

Ok, back to the main event. Here's a quick rundown on Taste of the Nation Orlando that I wrote for our team's newsletter. It pretty much sums it up, so rather than re-explaining, here you go!

Taste of the Nation Orlando celebrated its 23rd anniversary by raising a record-breaking $240,000 – up 45%! The silent auction alone grew 16% and attendance was well over 2,000. Senator Bill Nelson and his wife, Grace, were in attendance as Grace works closely with one of our beneficiaries, Florida Impact. One of our other beneficiaries, Coalition for the Homeless, put together this 'thank you' video. Just another reminder why I love my job.  I get to help countless children gain access to healthy food.

Jamie tested out an auction item during set-up. 

We had a man on stilts welcoming guests.

Cadillac is our vehicle sponsor in Atlanta and Florida. I have seriously never seen a car so shiny in my life. This picture does it no justice.

We also had two Caddies outside of the ballroom, and this one held the amount of food one ticket can purchase. Pretty impressive, huh?

Celeste, Me, Senator Bill Nelson, Grace Nelson, Jamie
(And yes, that's a stain down the front of my dress. AWESOME.)

Me and Jamie post-event. We did it!

Needless to say, the event was a fabulous success!

I was able to spend all day Sunday with my good friend, Barbara, who moved back home to Orlando last year. We had such an amazing time, and it made me miss her even more! 

After receiving a full-on tour of Orlando (courtesy of Barb), we headed to Winter Park to kick off our Sunday Funday. By the way, Orlando and Winter Park are both such cute cities! I bet I'm not the only one who thinks of Disney when I hear Orlando, but there's really so much more to it. Disney techinically isn't even in Orlando. LOVED it. 

Our first stop was Dexter's. 

Blueberry and Raspberry mimosas - yum!

Round 3! Pineapple/Mango mimosas.

After a yummy brunch and numerous mimosas, we headed to The Wine Room. Holy cow, someone get one (or ten) of these in Atlanta! It's basically a huge room of wine taps and you use your pre-loaded card to fill 'er up.

Coolest idea, ever.

We tweeted this picture to Bethenny Frankel since we're drinking Skinny Girl, but didn't hear back. RUDE.

We made a pit stop at her apartment before we headed to the airport, and I got to catch up with Sam! Isn't he adorable? He's a Chihuahua/Yorkie mix.

What a FAB weekend! We raised a record amount of money to help feed children in Central Florida, and I got to spend a wonderful day with an old friend. I'll take it!

Did you also know Orlando isn't full of overweight people wearing short shorts? Turns out, those people tend to stay around Disney World. 

give me five

Thursday, August 23, 2012

This past Sunday was our Give Me Five event at the beautiful Cherokee Town & Country Club in Buckhead. Different from the Taste of the Nation events, this is a 5-course dinner prepared by 5 different chefs and complemented by wines chosen by 5 different sommeliers. It was such a fun event and we raised 35% more than last year! Adam was forced to volunteered to help us out and I'm so glad he got to kind of see what it is I do.

The event also happened to fall on Jeffrey's 30th birthday! I was (obviously) beyond bummed I couldn't make it to Dallas for his birthday, but my parents flew in on Friday night and surprised him at a bar after dinner.

Dad had a really good time catching up with friends. Old frat habits die hard, I suppose. Speaking of frats, Mitchell accepted a bid to Theta Chi - which is my dad's fraternity! How cute is that?

While they were all having the time of their life on Friday, I got to witness this guy in Buckhead traffic. Yes, he is playing a saxophone while driving. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why they created cameras within cell phones.

Seriously, I couldn't make this stuff up!

On Saturday, Katie planned a surprise party for Jeff! (Again, so bummed I couldn't make it to any of the festivities!) While they were partying, I made a delish dinner. Yep - I cooked again! Adam was at a softball tournament all day, so he wasn't there to bother help me.

I was planning to do grilled chicken, but I actually found two steaks for less than two chicken breasts (literally, only $4 for both). Say whaa? Is that normal? I just made up my own marinade, since I'm a pro and all. But really, I just threw in soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, tabasco sauce (I had to!), and some garlic.

Adam loves cheese, so I thought I'd try to make some homemade mac n cheese. It was a keeper!

Chuck's Favorite Mac N Cheese

1 (8 ounce) package elbow macaroni
1 (8 ounce) package shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 (12 ounce) container small curd cottage cheese
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil, add    pasta, and cook until done; drain.
-In 9x13 inch baking dish, stir together macaroni, shredded Cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. In a small bowl, mix together bread crumbs and melted butter. Sprinkle topping over macaroni mixture.
-Bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until top is golden.

I also made this ridiculously easy and fast zucchini recipe.

Parmesan-Roasted Zucchini

2 zucchini
1 tablespoon olive oil
Garlic Powder
Black Pepper
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese

-Cut off ends of zucchini, cut into 4ths (length wise)
-Lay zucchini on cookie sheet covered with parchment paper (I used foil)
-Brush olive oil on each and sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder
-Top with cheese
-Bake for 15 minutes, or until zucchini is tender and cheese is browned

Ta da!! I'm a cook!

To cap off a great weekend/kick start a new week, I got home from work on Monday and found this waiting for me. Best husband, ever! Seriously. How cute is he? For those of you who live under a rock, this is the quote for The Hunger Games - which we're both obsessed with. We even went to the midnight premiere with Kelly and Jason (and a bunch of teeny boppers).

Harlech Farm

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I guess I can't say Adam and I (and Ruthie!) lead a boring life anymore, because I have to admit we do something fun almost every weekend. This past one was one of my ALL-TIME FAVORITES thanks to Scott's birthday (Thanks for being born, Scott!), but I'll get to that in a bit.

On Friday, Adam and I tried out Red Hare Brewing Company with our friends Madi and Evan. We love Sweetwater, but it's kind of a hike. This place is literally 5-10 minutes from our house. HELLLLO. Unbeknownst to us, they were also having a benefit for Ellie - so our money went to a fabulous cause.

If you live in Marietta (or Atlanta or anywhere), you have got to try this place! They have an outdoor patio with bocce ball, corn hall and picnic tables. You can bring your dogs, and they're allowed both inside and outside! Ruthie will most definitely be joining us next time. As if there couldn't be any more 'pros', you can pay $10 and get 6 sample tickets with a pint glass to take home, or you can pay NADA and get a plastic cup with 4 sample tickets. Um, best deal ever. Especially since I don't really drink beer. (Don't worry - I put my money in the donation jar for Ellie!)


This guy asked so many questions on the brewery tour. Good thing he's so cute.

I really wanted to take a picture with the Brewery Tour sign, but No Fun Frida wasn't into it. Do you see what I have to put up with?

After the brewery, we headed over to Taco Mac for some dinner with Erik and Dominica. Seriously, I have the best friends. I don't think I tell them that enough. They're the best workout I have - I don't stop laughing when I'm around them!

Saturday was Scott's birthday, and we celebrated at his family farm in Rome - Harlech Farm. I could probably spend 12 paragraphs of stream of consciousness going on and on about how amazing this place is, but I won't. All I can say is when we got home on Sunday, Adam tried to have a serious conversation about moving to a farm. (Which I would totally be down with if I didn't have to be near the city for work!)

Happy birthday, Scott! We love you!

Ruthie was in HEAVEN. She ran around all day long, and I didn't have to worry about her one bit. I was one proud mama. I think I felt like Michael Phelps' mom the first time he got in the water, because she knew he was home. (And yes, I did just compare my dog to Michael Phelps. I'm having Olympic withdrawals, ok??)

She even met a ram!

What's a party without a little slap the bag action...

...and keg stand action?

Thank you to Adam for the fabulous fire!!

We camped out by the lake, and Ruthie was such a good girl! Didn't bark at all, but was definitely ready to get out and explore in the morning.

Thank you, thank you, thank you Scott for being born and letting us come celebrate with you!

Random factoids to finish 'er up...

We finally received our wedding album after 1.5 years! And boy was this sucker worth the wait. It's INCREDIBLE.

My brother flew Taylor Swift on Monday night. Here's a picture he sent me of her guitars. I would give you all the dirty deets, but don't want to get Jeff fired. All I'll say is.... no autographs allowed.

Mitchell has flown the coop

Saturday, August 11, 2012

It's official. My parents are empty nesters! As of yesterday afternoon, Mitchell is all moved into his apartment at Auburn University. And yes, you read that correctly - apartment. Apparently Auburn doesn't have enough dorms for all of the freshman, and in true Reaves fashion they procrastinated. But please don't feel bad for him and his 3-bedroom, 3-bath apartment in a gated community with a pool and a fire pit.

Good luck, Mitchell! I know you'll do great things!

My parents are clearly not taking it well. They sent me this picture (with their friends, The Roushes, who are also now empty nesters) on their way back.

more ME... and other useless information

Monday, August 6, 2012

This is getting serious. My blog titles are on the fast track to being named "Week of July 30 - August 5." How do people think of witty titles on the reg? More power to you!

Anyway, since both sets of parents were busy on my birthday (can you believe that? On my birthday?!), we postponed my birthday dinners until this past week.

First up, dinner with my parents at Little Alley Steak. WOW, the food was so amazing. It's pricey, but worth the splurge if you have the means. Let me make it clear that Adam and I certainly do not have the means, hence the fact I made my parents take us. :)

My parents also spoiled me with this fabulous Hobo briefcase! I've been using my mom's since I got the new job, but was so excited to finally have one of my own! (Thanks to this picture, I can now see that my disgustingly beat-up yellow flats do not photograph well.)

After dinner, we headed over to my parents' house to wait for one of my very good friends, Christine. She was flying in from NYC, but was leaving first thing in the morning for a wedding in Nashville - so we only had a short window of time to see her. Of course, her plane got delayed and that window ended up being from midnight-2am. Dominica came over and we bothered Mitchell's friends to pass the time, and then we finally got to see our Christine!

Saturday was a lazy, rainy day that Ruthie and I both enjoyed napping through after walking up to get breakfast at Hoboken with that handsome hubs of mine.

That night was another round of ME at the Bakers. We had delicious tacos and she made a Ding Dong cake! It's basically made of Ding Dongs and whipped cream - and so worth every calorie.

Once again, I was so spoiled! Turns out my fabulous MIL (one of the two people I know that actually read this... HI DEBBIE!), has been turning to my blog and Facebook posts for present ideas. Come Christmas time, this blog will strictly be a wish list.

Anyway, Debbie and Dave got me this gorgeous monogram necklace - LOVE!!!

Kelsey got me this B-E-A-Utiful necklace, and Meagan & Nathan bought me a book (Water for Elephants) and my favorite Skinnygirl cocktail! What a wonderful, wonderful birthday!

Side note: I also got these bracelets from Dominica and Natalie (respectively), and some earrings from Alysa. I guess this was the birthday of jewelry - which I am not mad about!

This is such a terrible picture, and doesn't do the bracelet any justice!

Yesterday the weather was beautiful, so after an awesome morning of church and brunch, we spent the afternoon at the pool where I got to start my birthday book - so far so good!

Have I mentioned how much I love hanging out with Adam? I guess it's pretty convenient that I like him almost as much as I love him. Seriously, I don't think any couple has as much fun as we do. And then you throw Ruthie in the mix? We are just the happiest campers, ever! Actually, I think Ruthie and Adam would be content without me in the picture, but they're not getting rid of me. :)

Ok - final random blurb. I tried this new thing called Stitch Fix. Basically, you sign up and about a week later they send you an in-depth fashiony questionnaire. (All these fashion sites try to make it "Invite Only" and so exclusive, but really  I think it's their way of justifying the fact that they take their sweet time getting back to you initially.) Moving on! After I filled out the fun questionnaire, I paid $20 and in a week they sent me a box of 5 items based on what I filled out. If I decided to keep anything, the $20 went toward my purchase, and if I decided to keep all 5 items the $20 goes toward it and you get 25% off! I decided that I just had to keep one item, since it will probably be the last time I actually do it. It was super fun, but I find much better deals at TJ Maxx! If you'd like to try it (it's fun - just do it once!), then here's the link. I have to admit, if you use that link and actually do it, I get a credit. If you don't want to help a sister out, just go to their homepage - you won't hurt my feelings (only because I won't know you STABBED me in the back!). Totally kidding...kind of. Here's the loot I got! I only kept the fun dress on the far right.

Well, that's my week wrap up! Maybe next week it won't be all about me... but maybe it will. :)