Monday, February 24, 2014

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend South Beach Wine and Food Festival (better known as #sobewff to all of you social media folk). I purchased my plane ticket back in January when I didn't know what the schedule would be, and I'm currently killing time at a Starbucks near the Fort Lauderdale airport until my flight leaves at 9:45 tonight (it's currently 4:35pm - gross). A recap is in order, even though I didn't do the greatest job at taking pictures.

The first (and only event I actually had a ticket for) was The Q on Thursday evening. By the way, this was a work funded event. No way could I afford a $300 ticket to an event! Sports Illustrated Swimsuit models helped "host" the event, and Chrissy Teigen and John Legend (my faves) were on hand for the festivities. I never ran into them (despite my multiple Twitter attempts), but the evening was awesome regardless. As the name of the event (kind of) implies, all of the food at the event was barbecue. Unlimited food and booze on the beach? Yes, please.

After The Q, a friend was able to get us on the list for this crazy Chef After Party at the Clevelander. More food and booze, but this time with a dance floor. YES. Everywhere you turned was a different chef... we ran into Andrew Zimmern, Anne Burrell, Geoffrey Zakarian, Marc Summers (ok, he's not a chef)... all of our really closest friends, obvi.

My new manager in Florida, Michelle, loves Marcus Samuelsson - and look, we ran into him, too!

Of course, I couldn't let Michelle get a picture with a chef and me not. (That just wouldn't be fair.) So I made
friends with Marc Murphy.

And then we had a dance party to end the night. Day 1? Successful.

Day 2 started with a bit of a struggle (the after party went all pretty much all night, we tapped out around 2a and were some of the first to leave). We pulled it together and were able to attend the Grand Tasting's Industry Day, thanks to a colleague with extra passes. I was also able to snag one for that evening's Burger Bash, but was so exhausted I tapped out pretty early. Another very cool event, though. This time (you guessed it) it was all burgers. Holeman & Finch (from Atlanta) was there and definitely had the best burger - I'm seriously not being biased. Everyone I talked to said the same thing.

Day 3... Free Day! The weather was beautiful so I decided to spend a good bit of the day on the beach.

I was all alone, so I didn't have anyone to put sunscreen on my back and I fell asleep. Dangerous combo for someone with baby skin. Needless to say, I'm still pretty uncomfortable. (Oh, and I also burnt the top of my hands - I look like I have red gloves on and they're so swollen my rings don't event fit. Fabulous.) I spent the rest of Saturday running to the grocery store (food isn't Frances and Tom's forte) and watching lots of TV.

I also spent some time FaceTiming my FAVORITES... Adam, Ruthie and Hank!! Missed those guys, a lot.

Day 4 we were lucky enough to get my colleague's passes for the final event of the festival, Best of the Munchies. This was definitely the most packed of the events, but still fun! Another colleague of mine who runs our New York event was also in town, so we were able to meet up with her for a good bit.

Jalapeno Jelly Donuts from Dandee Donuts... SO amazing. 

The trip was a success - lots of fun and made lots of great contacts! Now, home until Wednesday when I head to DC for our annual retreat. (Ay yi yi.)

Nashville last weekend, Miami this past weekend and DC on Wednesday. I'm pretty sure Adam and the pups don't even know what I look like anymore. As I read through past posts, there are a lot of things I do without Adam and I probably come off as a really negligent wife. With my job, I have the opportunity/need to travel (which I love!), but I always miss Adam and wish he was there with me. One day, when we are rolling in the dough, he'll come with me on more trips and we'll travel (just the two of us!) all the time. Right now, we're not really at that point in our life. Sigh.

valentine's weekend in nashville

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Expecting a cute, romantic story about a getaway to Nashville? Too bad! I ditched the hubs on Valentine's Day to head to Nashville with the girls of his family (so it's kind of like we spent it together?).

Debbie, Kelsey, Meagan and I headed up to Nashville on Friday afternoon, and after a very local dining experience at Backyard Burger we checked into our hotel and waited for Adam's grandma and cousin Amy to arrive from St. Louis. Friday night was pretty uneventful because we had to wake up at 5:30am on Saturday for the Hot Chocolate 5K. (Oh, yeah. I forgot to register myself so that was fun to deal with on Friday!)

We woke up Saturday morning to a balmy 10 degrees (with the wind chill) and headed outdoors. Are we nuts? I have been cold before, but I can honestly say I've never been that cold for such an extended period of time. Painful!

Amy and I ran the 5K (I mean, 15K) while Debbie, Meagan and Kelsey walked. Grandma was the smartest one - she stayed back at the hotel! You can't tell in this picture, but Amy's ankles were purple by the time we got to the start line.

After the race, my hands were so numb I had no choice but to shove them in my pockets on the walk back to the car. Amy, being the good Samaritan that she is, offered to hold my souvenir goodies for me. When I tried to take it back (with my hands still in my pockets - don't ask), it spilled everywhere and I'm pretty sure we both peed ourselves from laughing so hard. I guess you had to be there...


After sprucing ourselves up at the hotel, we all headed out to see Opryland and the Grand Ole Opry. Turns out there was some sort of Wild Turkey Convention happening, so the place was packed with Duck Dynasty wannabes. At this point, we were all about to snap due to the lack of food (or was that just me?) so we parked at the outlet mall - which happens to share a parking lot with the Grand Ole Opry, kind of weird - and headed to the first restaurant we could find. Chuy's it was.

We all ate way too much food because we were starving and it was mexican food (bad combo), but pulled it together to do some sight-seeing.

Fun guitars outside the Grand Ole Opry. They charge you $20 to tour the place, so we settled on the gift shop instead.

Opryland was crazy! You could definitely stay there and never leave, very similar to a cruise ship.

Even though we hadn't planned on it, a nap back at the hotel was in order. After a quick nap, we headed back out - this time to the famous Broadway and 2nd area of Nashville. It was Valentine's weekend so there weren't reservations available anywhere. We tried calling Rock Bottom Brewery, but were told they were full and would squeeze in walk-ins if anything was available. It happened to be the first place we found once we got down there, so we decided we'd suck it up - the wait for 6 people anywhere was going to be long. Well, what are the odds. There wasn't a wait for 6 people. The food was so yummy - I recommend it.

After dinner, we walked through the streets for a little bit before settling in at a bar with live music for a quick drink. All of the bars we passed looked like so much fun - live music everywhere! I told Adam we have to go back and really check it out.

Sunday morning before heading home, we went to The Pfunky Griddle. One of Kelsey's friends frequents the place and it looked like a lot of fun. It was! You make your own pancakes! Definitely a fun, touristy thing to do, but I typically like to go out to eat so I don't have to cook.

We made it back home Sunday afternoon, and Adam and I headed out to celebrate Valentine's by seeing Lone Survivor at Studio Movie Grill (what a romantic movie!). But seriously, such an amazing yet heart-wrenching movie. Every American should see it.

I also came home to this gem from Lindsay! She works for US Figure Skating and knows how much I love the Olympics. Best surprise, ever!

I had Monday off for Presidents' Day, so I spent the morning with these two weirdos before meeting up with my mom. I mean, could Hank look any cuter?

On Monday night, I caught up with some work friends at Tin Lizzy's, and then Allison and I hit up the new Sprinkles Cupcakes ATM. Coolest thing, ever! I got a Raspberry Chocolate Chip cupcake, and it was delish.

And in typical Baker fashion, we missed Hank's third weekly picture on Saturday. Whoops! We'll try to take it tonight. Quick update on him... He's getting cuter and cuter everyday, and he and Ruthie are best friends. He hasn't had an accident in the house for almost a week (yay!) and seems to have cut down his chewing a little bit. He loves his crate (because he gets a treat when he goes in) and has mastered 'Sit'. Unlike Ruthie, he is the best snuggler! She has always had her own agenda - such an independent pup. We love him a lot, and I'm so glad I finally broke down about getting another dog.

Update! Here are his three week pictures.

Suck It, Sochi: Winter Olympics Party

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Adam and I love the Olympics. LOVE the Olympics. This year we decided to throw a Winter Olympics party, and it did not disappoint. Our theme was 'Suck It, Sochi' for a couple reasons, but mainly because the Olympics are in Sochi and I like alliteration. 

I decided to try to be Pinterest-y for some reason, even though I fail at 99% of projects I try from that site of false expectations. Regardless, I headed off to the Dollar Tree with some screenshots of cute, look-to-be-foolproof craft ideas and wasted a good bit of money.

Case in point. Can you guess which one is my attempt?

Adam loves the movie Cool Runnings and quotes it at every opportunity, so he decided our costume (oh, yeah - costumes mandatory for this party!) was going to be the Jamaican Bobsled Team. I put a lot of dedication into making sure our shirts looked (kind of) legit, and of course didn't get one picture of us in them on Saturday.

Here's the whole set - our shirts and the dogs' collars. The back of our shirts said 'Feel the Rhythm'. I was pretty proud of them! 

Lucky for us, we just bought some furniture at Ikea, so Adam actually "built" us a bobsled. It turned out AMAZING, as his projects always do. (Damn him.)

Is Ruthie not the cutest test driver?

Here's a set up of the only portion of our house with any Olympic decor. (Disclaimer: Adam noticed the green and red balloons needed to be switched to coincide with the Olympic Rings before anyone arrived. Nice save, honey!) I called this area my 'Kindergarten Project' - how pitiful is that sign? I love it!

One Pinterest idea that did work out... The popcorn torches seen below. I literally just put popcorn in ice cream cones. Word to the wise, those cones only hold approximately 6-8 popcorn kernels. (Oh, and Adam thought I was crazy for thinking they actually looked like torches.) The other part of this picture didn't come from Pinterest (gasp!), I thought of it all on my own! Staying in theme with the Olympics being in Russia, we had a vodka bar! (This wasn't really thinking outside the box - vodka is my favorite beverage.)

In addition to the vodka, our mixers included - limes, ginger beer (Moscow Mules! I'm so into this theme, y'all), tonic water, club soda, and cranberry juice. And let's not forget the "lemonade" - Allison created this sign to go with it. If you've been keeping up with the news, a lot of the accommodations in Sochi aren't exactly ready.

Anyway, the party was great and we were so excited to see so many people show up in costumes!

Ok, we get it. We need more seating options. (Also, love Dominica's side eye in this picture.)

Jamaican Bobsled Team! Obviously, we won the gold.

We ended the night at Mulligan's (I mean, obviously), and then finally tapped out around 2am. How we all made it that long is beyond me! Thank you to everyone who came out and celebrated the Winter Olympics with us!

Quick Update on Hank!

Hank and Ruthie are officially BFFs. They love each other and play all day long (which is great, because they're exhausted at night!) He's definitely not as smart as Ruthie, but he'll learn the ways of the house eventually. Oh, and he's still so cute flipping upside down under furniture.

And here he is at the two week mark (not much different in size, yet).

Week 1 vs. Week 2 at home

Meet Hank!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Well, so much for holding off on another puppy. (Hey, at least I made it through 2013!) After numerous conversations, and lots of pros and cons lists... I finally caved. It's kind of funny, on Friday night Adam and I went to this really hip, cool restaurant called Chili's where I told him I was finally caving in, and he told me he was finally giving up. (Because why should we ever be on the same page?)

After working from home over the past month, I look at Ruthie and she really is so bored all the time. Between her staring out the window for a solid 8 hours and Adam begging for another dog, I gave in. We headed to the Atlanta Humane Society on Saturday morning to see if a dog or pup caught our eye (what a joke, of COURSE one did). We absolutely loved our experience with the Atlanta Humane Society when we got Ruthie in February 2011 and promised ourselves to get any future pets from there (as long as we live here).

AHS opens at 11am on the weekends, and I figured we might as well get our day started and head over there around that time. Word to the wise... get there early! We arrived around 11:15am and the place was swarming. Ruthie tagged along so she could give the final approval on the newest family member. I'm all for adopting an older dog, but (in my opinion) you never know what their past was and when they may just snap. Nothing against them and more power to those who do it, but I just don't have the time/patience to commit to an older dog with serious issues. So, we headed into the Puppy Room. After looking over a couple puppies, I came upon this little fatty passed out on his back. The volunteer (God sends) woke him up and handed me Mr. Moo. Oh my goodness, love at first sight. Adam walked over and said something along the lines of "well, that didn't take long", and the rest is history. We introduced him to Ruthie, who was super excited to meet him (hello, it's another dog - her favorite thing, ever), but she was a little confused why he left with us.

Without further ado.... MEET HANK!

Ruthie is named after Babe Ruth, and it was only natural that this little guy would also get a baseball-inspired name. Who better than Hank Aaron - the one who beat Babe Ruth's homerun record?

Hank was instantly in love with Ruthie, but she didn't feel the same way for the first day or so. I'm pretty sure she didn't understand why he was so little, sleepy and couldn't go up and down the stairs. Now that he's more comfortable, he's got a little more fight in him and they spend all day wrestling with each other. Best friends!

Ruthie's such a good sport.

And here are some pictures of the last few days. I love the squishy, sleepy phase of puppies and don't want him to grow up! (I would, however, like him to stop chewing everything.)

One day we'll laugh when we see that Hank was once Rico's size.

His hiding place... for now.

He may look adorable (which he is), but he's actually chewing underneath the bed in this picture. 

Taking his first trip to Mulligan's with Auntie Dominica.

I have also taken some videos so I can remember how bouncy and cute he is right now! Check them out here, here and here.

This is the picture we're going to take every week to see how fast and big he grows.

Just so I can remember in the future, he's doing really well with housebreaking. Well, I'm doing really well with housebreaking. I make sure I have my eye on him at all times and take him out every 20-30 minutes while I'm home... he has no chance! He also does really well in his crate at night. He whines for 5 or 10 minutes, but then he's passed out until we get him up in the morning. This is a nice relief from Ruthie... she was a TERROR. Literally screamed (yes, screamed - not whined or cried) in her crate all night for a solid month. I don't remember her being such a chewer though. Regardless, we love them both!

Welcome to the family, Hank!