Month of Cheer

Thursday, December 19, 2013

(I have had this post sitting in drafts for over a week, and was just waiting to include pictures before I posted. Needless to say, I was so proud of myself for getting one done in a timely manner! Flash forward to now... Still no pictures, still not posted. So I guess I'll just add on... ::sigh::)

It's hard to believe it's already a solid week into December. I say this every month, but seriously - I can't believe it's December!! We brought in the month of cheer with plenty of.... well, cheer.

The first committee meeting of Taste of the Nation Atlanta 2014 was held on Thursday (Dec 5), and we took the opportunity to send off our fearless leader with treats (including champagne in a can - why wasn't I aware of this amazing invention?). We will definitely miss Allison - she has been amazing on so many levels!

Turns out I have a handful of personal hours to use before the end of the year, so I decided to cash them in and take off Friday (Dec 6) and the next Friday (Dec 13). Of course, I still spent the morning working, but with minimal distractions (which is always productive). That evening, we celebrated Dominica and Erik's new digs in Woodstock. The apartment is so cute, and we christened it with lots (and lots) of celebratory drinks.

Funny/Typical story of the evening... Alysa was in a meeting earlier in the day and her foot fell asleep. When she stood up to leave she fell right over and sprained her ankle really bad. And when she was tired in high school, she would always come up to us and say "Hold my leg." Apparently it helped her not be tired (?). Anyway, we all found it hilarious that she really needed us to hold her leg on Friday. (As soon as I typed that out, I realized how dumb that story is. Whatever, keeping it anyway!)

Adam worked that Saturday, so I spent the morning lounging on the couch and running some holiday errands. I should have planned better, because my mom, dad and Mitch (along with 7 of his Auburn buddies) were in town for the SEC Championship down at the Georgia Dome. The group of them headed down to tailgate before the game, and I wish I had joined. I mean, mostly I just wish I was there to witness mom breaking and entering...

On Saturday night, we decided to check out a bar that's right up the street from our house - 120 Tavern. Oh my gosh, it was so fun! They had an amazing southern rock band, and us girls instantly became groupies. (Not really, but we did jump on stage when they invited us... duh.)

These pictures really make me laugh.... kudos to Adam and Evan for putting up with us!

Yep, that's me playing the drums.

With Thanksgiving so late this year, I felt like we were way behind on decorating for Christmas. However, I refuse to bring out any Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving, and that's something I will not budge on. So Sunday (Dec 8) it was off to Pike Nursery to pick out this year's tree.

This year they had some massive trees... for a cool $200. They make Adam look like shorty!

We picked our tree pretty quick compared to years past. I always like to weigh all my options before committing. Maybe it's because we found the perfect tree so quick this year, and maybe it had something to do with the weather being disgusting - but we were in and out pretty fast!

To be festive while we were decorating the tree, I decided to bake cookies. (And by bake, I mean I bought the "Break and Bake" version that took me all of 30 seconds to prepare.) Either way, they were yummy and made our house smell cheerful!

(Drum roll, please.) I give you... the 2013 Baker Christmas tree! Look how adorable Ruthie is. She must know Santa is watching.

I feel like that was a climactic way to end this blog post, but our weekend fun didn't actually end there. My parents invited us to go see Craig Shoemaker at the Punchline Comedy Club, and since neither one of us had been to a comedy club we were down for the adventure. OH.MY.GOSH. I literally have never laughed so hard in my life. I really thought I was going to throw up at one point because I couldn't catch my breath.

He somehow spotted me in the audience and coined me the baby of the group. Calling me out as "88" (the year I was born) the whole evening. Nice audience interaction there, Craig. Needless to say, I had to grab him for a photo op after. If you ever get a chance, check him out. Adam and I have decided we're going to a comedy club every weekend now. We had such a great time!! Who doesn't love a good laugh sesh?

(And so begins the add on...)

Friday night we were happy to help Caitlin celebrate her graduation from Kennesaw State University. Hooty hoo - congrats!

Did I mention one of my BFFs, Madi, moved a mile down the road? Literally a mile. Saturday night, she and Evan joined Adam and I for another night of holiday festivities. We started the evening playing cards at our house, and quickly decided Mulligan's was a must.

Mulligan's is really trying to become more of a "neighborhood bar" than a "politically incorrect biker bar" and they're doing a pretty good job! They now serve complimentary bar snacks (yes, I will take another handful from your Costco tub of cheese balls) and the owner does her best to say hello to everyone. Honestly, Friday was the most crowded I have ever seen it! I'm kind of sad because it's our bar (obviously), but I'm glad business is kicking up for them.

Word got out that I had never been to the Marietta Diner, so that was a must post-bar. GREAT idea, except when my phone fell out of my rain jacket and the screen shattered. This is my third broken screen in less than a year! Shouldn't I get a free replacement by now? Whatever.

The big story of the weekend was the epic cake Adam made Debbie for her birthday dinner on Sunday night. It took us a good part of both Saturday and Sunday to create our masterpiece, but it was definitely a masterpiece. The monster that was the Salted Caramel Six-Layer Chocolate Cake was most definitely a labor of love, but I was so proud of myself I almost cried when it was done!

We even had to make our own caramel! And by we, I obviously mean Adam. In typical Adam fashion, he got it perfect on the first try without even using a candy thermometer. He's like a kitchen whisperer.

I handled the actual cake and the frosting - all from scratch, baby!

Anna gave me this cute candle one year and I keep forgetting about it, until Sunday! It was a sparkler, and the cutest thing ever. Dave got some pretty awesome pictures of us all freaking out when it started "sparkling".

The birthday girl with the final product! There are not many isn't anyone else I would put so much effort into a cake for - and I was so happy it turned out! (I put a lot of pressure on myself... and Adam.) Voila!

(I mean.... YES.)

Turkey Festivities

Friday, December 6, 2013

How was Thanksgiving already over a week ago? We had a great time enjoying our family and friends - our favorite part of the holiday season!

On Tuesday, we grabbed dinner with two of our great friends - Barbara and Ben. Of course, we had to introduce them to Mulligan's after dinner - which is where Ben (aka Mr. Fitness Fanatic) somehow convinced Barb and I to join him for Crossfit the next morning. (Disclaimer: The only reason we agreed was because we were promised IHOP after.)

We totally rocked the work out! And I beat Barb by 3 seconds - ha! I can see why people get addicted to Crossfit... the people are fun and the workouts are short. I figured this was an appropriate shirt to wear for the occasion. (Thanks for the caption, Ben.)

On Thanksgiving morning, the fam participated in the 11th Annual Gobble Jog in the Marietta Square. It was the coldest Thanksgiving in over a century (29 degrees - brrr!), and mom dressed for the arctic circle.

It was a chilly, but beautiful morning. So glad we got a little exercise in before we stuffed ourselves!

Just a few other participants...

That afternoon, we all went over to Meagan and Nathan's for Thanksgiving dinner. For the first time in a long time, we only attended one Thanksgiving, as my family was also invited over. We had a great day at the Causeys, and are very thankful for all of our family and friends!

How beautiful is this table setting? Meagan is so crafty - I'm jealous!

I'm especially thankful for this guy - even with his obnoxious mustache. :) 

Below are the two items I made (yes, me!). Adam made his delish fried Mac n Cheese balls.

For this, I chose Pecans, Almonds, Cashews, Pretzels and Dried Cranberries. And I made the Chipotle seasoning. They were a hit!

I thought these were a little too garlicky, but still yummy.

Post-Thanksgiving photo shoot with Ruthie. She's so cooperative...

Mitchy! He tried to bail on us Thursday night to head back to Auburn for the Iron Bowl, but we talked him into staying until Friday. (Holy, Iron Bowl!!! I know nothing about football, but that was exciting!!)

On Friday night, Adam and I went out with some new friends. Adam works with Matt, whose girlfriend is this fun chick below! We met at the Enterprise party a few weeks back, and Morgan and Matt invited us over for dinner and to go out. We're always down for new friends, and we had a great time.

And now that it's December... it means Movember is OVER! Much better.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanskgiving!

QT with Family and Friends

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

We have had a busy, family-filled couple of weeks lately... and I LOVE it.

We kicked it off on Tuesday (Nov 12) with Tequila Tasting at Ceviche Taqueria. My cousin Emma works there and told me about this fun promo they do every the fourth Tuesday of every month. It's a pretty awesome deal - $35 gets you three tastings shots of tequila, a margarita, queso, guacamole, t-shirt and koozie. Dominica, mom, Aunt Kathy and Emma all joined and we had a great time. Especially mom... tequila is her favorite (besides vodka, of course).

That same night, Jeff and Katie got in town! Since they were staying in Buckhead and got in late, so we didn't see them until Wednesday.

Katie was in town to attend a Dermatology PA conference and brought some of her fun props to dinner on Wednesday. We learned how to stitch on fake skin - so cool! So don't worry - if anything happens when we're in the wilderness (why would I be in the wilderness?), I can stitch you up.

On Friday, Adam and I enjoyed an always delicious dinner at his parents' before heading down to Buckhead to enjoy the night with Jeff and Katie. They were nice enough to switch from a luxurious king room to a double so we could crash with them - thanks, team!

We started the night in our old college stomping ground, East Andrews area, at Park Bench. Bad news, it's still a college area and we were definitely the oldest people there. Whatevs! Our friend, Matt Cheij, joined us and said there was a bar down the street that was more "our scene" so we headed there. Katie and I happen to love playing Buck Hunter, and Kramer's had it. BINGO. After Buckhead, we dropped by some other Atlanta landmarks before we headed back to the hotel.

Saturday was football day at the Reaves'. The big (and exciting) Auburn vs. Georgia football game was obviously on. (Ever since Mitchell started at Auburn, our family is suddenly the BIGGEST Auburn fan.) Look at Ruthie cheering on the Tigers! Cutest, ever. The game ended with Auburn come back and winning in an insane Hail Mary play.

Katie and I missed this exciting final play, because we headed out early to drop off Ruthie on the way to dinner. The whole family finally got to try one of my parents' favorite restaurants, Horseradish Grill. It was so yummy, I highly recommend. Sadly, Katie had to depart the next morning, but Jeff hung out until his next rotation started on Tuesday.

Moving from family to friends...

Last Wednesday, we had our girls night at hibachi. Because what's weird about four girls chowing down on hibachi on a casual Wednesday? I LOVE HIBACHI. So much. (Also, our cook was white - so that was weird.)

On Friday, Adam and I made the hike up to Gainesville to celebrate Kirklan and Randi at their Couples Wedding Shower. Kirklan was a groomsman in our wedding and Adam is one in his, too. Neither of us had met Randi before, and she was as sweet as can be. Very excited for them! (Also, is November over yet. I'm OVER Adam's mustache!)

Our good friends, Chad and Dallas, also live in Gainesville so we decided to spend the night with them since we were already up there. We headed out to a bar, Recess, later in the evening and ran into Kirklan and Randi again. Party time!

Love Dallas!

These two act like little kids when they're together. Ay yi yi.

After waking up and enjoying lunch with the Sages, we headed back home. Well, I headed home for the day while Adam headed home, showered and went right back up to Gainesville for a Groom Shower/Football day at Kirklan's. LOTS of driving for him.

On Sunday, the baby Baker, Kelsey, turned 21! Debbie and Dave had already planned to drive down to Milledgeville to visit her at school, and Debbie came up with the great idea for all of us to come down and surprise her! We were all able to do it, and I'm pretty sure she loved having her whole family there to celebrate. YOU'RE 21, KELSEY!!

And TODAY is our little Ruthie's third birthday!! Unfortunately, the weather is pretty crappy so she can't even go outside and play. Boo. :(


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Not even going to apologize for my lack of posting. Moving on...

I headed down to Florida for the last event of the year at the end of October. Our No Kid Hungry Palm Beach dinner fell on the same weekend last year, and I wasn't aware that we were going to celebrate Halloween the night before. This year I came prepared!

After a long night out in Miami, we got up and headed to Palm Beach for the dinner. Good news, we raised over $109,000 (our goal was $100,000) - so I guess our Halloween outfits were good luck. The dinner was amazing - we had a great group of people in the room and our chefs were awesome (as always).

Check out that menu - delish!

Some of our participating chefs.... rock stars!

After returning from Florida, two days before Halloween, I never got back in the Halloween "groove". (Full disclosure: I pulled out our three decorations on Halloween and we didn't even get a pumpkin.) However, Adam and Ruthie did dress up for the occasion!

I made him take his costume off when trick-or-treaters came... Have you seen our neighborhood? A little inappropriate.

We had one little boy come by who was dressed up as a Power Ranger. He spent a solid five minutes in our house showing off his moves and putting Ruthie in a headlock. She was such a trooper!

We've been pretty nonstop since Halloween, too. On November 2, Adam attended his first Dad-chelor party. Basically, it's a chance for the dad-to-be to drink and smoke cigars with his friends before the bebe comes. Also, all the guys had to bring a pack of diapers. Would have LOVED to see them shopping for those!

Just a casual Saturday afternoon car ride.

The next day, I attended Afternoon in the Country with Kelly and Jason. Adam couldn't tag along this year because they raised ticket prices by $30-$40.... yowza! Anyway, it was a fun time and I'm now addicted to Kevin Gillespie's chicken sandwich. (Seriously, better than Chick-Fil-A. And I'm a huge Chick-Fil-A fan.)

Last Tuesday (look, I'm getting closer to real-time... only a week ago!), some of our amazing Atlanta Share Our Strength committee members joined us to sort cans at the Atlanta Community Food Bank's Product Rescue Center. It's always a fun time!

On Thursday, I took the afternoon off because Adam also had the afternoon off. We decided to head down to Piedmont Park (our old stomping grounds!) and take Ruthie to her favorite dog park.

The picture on the left is one of Ruthie and I the day we got her from the Humane Society! I tried to make her pose for a similar one when we were back in the park last week. She wasn't being very cooperative.

This past weekend I was surprised(!) by my very best friend!! I was seriously so surprised when she came waltzing into our house on Saturday morning. We spent the day together until it was time to get ready for Adam's work party that night.

Enterprise rented out 25,000 cars in the North Georgia region (I think....), so corporate threw their team a huge party. They rented out the Tabernacle, had an open bar and food, and recruited the most amazing cover band. Ever. I was so excited to finally meet all of Adam's co-workers! I feel like I know them all, so it was fun to put faces to names/stories.

Party on the Moon. World's best cover band, ever. Seriously. For real. Can't say it enough. Apparently they played at Obama's inauguration, and Eli Manning flew them to Cabo for some party. I 100% believe it.

I found out the trick to get Adam on the dance floor... Make sure all of his coworkers  bosses like to dance, so he can show off. I'll take it!

His 'stache finally made it's photo debut. We had so much fun! And the cherry on top, we were able to meet Kelly and Jason for a drink at Park Bar after. (What's the deal with me never getting a picture of all of us, team?)

We were planning to take Uber home, but I got a fun notification telling me that the fair would be 1.75x the normal rate because they were so busy. (What?) Kelly told me to try Lyft, so we did and it's my new found love. It only cost $29 (including tip) to get from Downtown to our house in Marietta. SOLD.

After recovering for the majority of the day on Sunday, I headed back downtown to attend the 7th GRACE Awards, hosted by our friends at the Georgia Restaurant Association. It was a gorgeous event and the food was (you guessed it) prettttty good.

Yesterday was Veteran's Day (which my fabulous employer considers it the holiday that it is). My mom and I decided to spend the day at the new Outlets up 575 and get a start on Christmas shopping. It was a great day, topped off with a hot fudge sundae from the Ghirardelli store (oh, fine).

So there it is. There's my sad excuse of an update for the past two or three weeks. Jeff and Katie are coming in town tonight and will be here all week, so fingers crossed I do a better job filling in on that.