Monthly Archives: January 2012

Photo Friday: Temple of 10,000 Buddhas

1 of 10,000

It’s Asia week, y’all! This image was taken at the Temple of 10,000 Buddhas in New Territories, Hong Kong. It was my most memorable excursion of my time there. So stay tuned, for all things Asia over the next few days.


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Photo Friday: Oia, Santorini

Oia Cathedral

I realized this morning, after the last few days of Staycation posts, that I NEVER photograph my life in Atlanta. Clearly I need to remedy that. But, it only makes me more excited to share an original photo with you on Thirty4Thirty’s FIRST Photo Friday.

This photo was taken in October of 2007 on Danimal and my honeymoon. We traveled to one of Greece’s most fabulous islands, Santorini. This photo was snapped  in the village of Oia. And yes, the water in this picture is just as blue in person as it is in the photo. The contrasting white buildings that hug the coast with the blue sky and water in the background is just breathtaking.

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Houseguests: Staycation Day #4

Today, you, my blog audience, are becoming my virtual house guests. Even though Danimal + I are normally the people getting on planes to see family + friends, we LOVE hosting people in Atlanta. It is my not-so-secret wish to host a family holiday. Clearly I’m a masochist. On the final day of the Staycation series, I am giving you a glimpse of your weekend with us.

Krog Bar: Wine + Cheese, Please!

Depending on your arrival time at the airport (where you should always get on the furthest train to left to be first up the escalator), we would have either picked you up there or had you ride MARTA to my office. Regardless we would be at Krog Bar or Sister Louisa’s (aka Church) for a ‘welcome cocktail’. Seriously, Church is ALL the rage. Lady Gaga, Ben Stiller, + Vince Vaughn are fans. Told you it was cool.

Sister Louisa's Church of the Living Room + Ping-Pong Emporium

Saturday morning we would walk through the neighborhood and head over to Parish (downstairs) for breakfast before we shop at the local stores and boutiques along N. Highland. (Some of my personal favorites being Nandina and Lila.) From there we would do a casual late lunch at the Wrecking Bar. The Wrecking Bar is the new and fabulous local brew pub, and this is coming from a non-beer drinker.

Improv comedy literally one block away

The big decision of the day… performance at Horizon Theatre or comedy show at Dad’s Garage? See, you already have a reason to come visit again. You need to experience both… and Variety Playhouse. And, many of the city’s best restaurants are located in the neighborhood as well. If we were going more casual I would pick Fritti, but for a more serious dinner I can’t pick just one. It would definitely be one of these though:
  1. Wisteria
  2. Sotto Sotto
  3. Rathbun’s
  4. Rathbun’s Steak


Grown-up Icee: Dreams do come true!

After the show ends we head off to Victory Sandwich for a jack and coke slushee. You heard me right. Jack and Coke slushee. You’re welcome.
Really, I’m embarrassed at all of things in Inman Park you haven’t experienced yet. Maybe you can come back again. I mean, you haven’t even been to L5P yet.
Photo credits: Creative Loving, CBS Atlanta, Sister Louisa’s

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Tour of Festivals: Staycation Day #3

A huge Atlanta perk is the weather. It has four legitimate seasons, providing some needed justification for my coat addiction, the longest ones being Spring + Fall. This lends itself perfectly to patios and festivals, both of which are plentiful in the ATL.

New Favorite Patio: Barcelona Wine Bar

If you find yourself in Atlanta during one of these seasons, be sure to check the festival calendar. Now for a list of some of my favorite festivals:

Sonny + Stella CAN'T do this

1. Dogwood FestivalThe Dogwood Festival occurs in Piedmont Park each Spring. (Except for that pesky year when we had the terrible drought.) Local bands, artists, and dogs entertain. Yep, dogs. My favorite part of the festival is the Disc Dog Exhibition, although it does shine a rather unflattering light on Sonny + Stella’s lack of skills.


2. Taste of the Highlands – I love this festival because food (+ drink) is the focus. Unlike most of the festivals this one does require an entry fee, but it benefits Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. (A fantastic local non-profit…) Chefs from popular and delicious in-town restaurants set up shop and you get to sample their creations. All. Day. Long.

Get Your Chomp On

3. Chomp n’ Stomp – This is a great fall festival located in Cabbagetown. The highlight is the chili cook-off. But, get there early, the chili runs out quick.

Danimal + I: Butterfly Ball 2010

4. Inman Park Festival – I may be a bit biased, but this is MY NUMBER ONE FAVORITE FESTIVAL. For two days I look out our front window to see a festival set up in the front yard. The fun starts with Butterfly Ball on Friday night and doesn’t stop until Sunday evening. Creative Loafing has consistently voted this as Atlanta’s BEST Festival. If you are in town the last full weekend of April, make your way over to my stomping grounds.

Parking for these puppies can be a NIGHTMARE. Take MARTA when you can. Soon you will be able to travel between in-town neighborhoods (+ festivals) via the Beltline. The connectivity it will provide can only be described as an urban dwellers dream come true.


Photo credits: History 4220, Perennial Gourmand, Jeff Herr Photos


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Better Make It Midtown: Staycation Day #2

When I first moved to Atlanta I lived just north of Midtown and now I live just east of Midtown in Inman Park. And, if I wasn’t so freaking obsessed with Inman Park, I would look for a place there. I especially recommend Midtown for people coming to visit. (I mean you don’t even need a car!)

Skyline View

Not only is Midtown walkable but there are plenty hotels at a range of prices. Take your pick. You can walk out that morning and not come back until the wee hours. Now I’m about to get ahead of myself with the first recommendation, but it is too easy. Eat dinner at Ecco. I know, I jumped straight to dinner. No surprise there. One more dinner tip… order the fried goat cheese with honey black pepper.

Balls of Goodness

The tough thing about Midtown is that there is SO much good stuff pick from. So in no particular order, some options for your consideration.

Become one of the 2.5 million visitors

1. Piedmont Park: This is Atlanta’s version of Central Park. The park recently underwent significant renovations. It was great before; it’s even better now. The 189-acre park includes a dog park, playgrounds, swimming pool, tennis courts, pond, an ice rink in the winter, and item #2 on the list.

Day, Night, Summer, Winter always awesome

2. Atlanta Botanical Gardens: The orchid house is one of my favorite features of the garden, but the addition of the canopy walk allows you to travel in the trees. This year at Christmas for the first time ABG hosted ‘Garden Lights + Holiday Nights’. Magic.

Setting for a Love Story

3. Woodruff Arts Center: When Dan was wooing me (oh, memories) we spent a good bit of time at WAC. We had season tickets to the symphony and it became a regular date night. In addition to being the home of the ASO, you can also find the High Art Museum. The Picasso to Warhol exhibit is there until April 29.

Seriously, how cool is the sky ceiling?

4. Fox Theater: The Fox Theater is an Atlanta classic. You can see everything from musical performances (we saw Alison Krauss and Florence + the Machine last year), to theatrical performances (think Chicago) and classic movies (the Godfather on the big screen).

And to think these are just the more traditional Midtown recommendations. Imagine what you will find if you just plan to spend the day getting lost.


Photo credits: Access Atlanta, The Coolist, Woodruff Center, PPS

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Home Sweet Home: Staycation Day #1

For as much as travel is my drug, there is something glorious about returning home. When I am on a trip, I hate the thought of leaving. But, as soon as the leave process begins, I want to be home that instant. Perhaps that is one of the reasons I hate road trips. The strange thing that I realized a few years ago is that Atlanta really is home now.

Family Pic @ HOME

Family Pic @ HOME

When I moved to Atlanta I did not intend to be here long. After all I’m from Texas, the greatest state, and normally if people leave they go right back. But then something happened, I fell in love with Atlanta and fell in love.

@ HOME sledding down the snow hill

It makes it so much easier to come home when you enjoy the place you live… but for many Atlanta IS the destination. I have been looking forward to sharing  my favorite “trips” in my city, but first the things you should NOT do. I know how this seems, but establishing the ‘no play list’ is an essential part of trip planning strategy.

The whale sharks really are rad

1. The Aquarium – WHAT!!!??? Atlanta’s is home to world’s largest aquarium (8.5 million gallons). The aquarium has everything from fresh water fish to whale sharks. There are moments when it is actually quite breathtaking and remarkable. For me those experiences occurred when I was lucky enough to visit the aquarium when it was closed for private functions. When I have visited during regular hours it has been crowded, loud, over-branded, and close to impossible to get a good look at the fish. (Oh my word… I feel like my father saying that.)

2. Downtown Convention Zone – Many of the biggest hotels in Atlanta are located in downtown. Their proximity to destinations like Philip’s Arena, the Georgia Dome and Convention Center make them convenient. But, the restaurants located in downtown provide for inauthentic experience of Atlanta and the food just isn’t good. (There are a few exceptions… Juke Joint, Meehan’s (bar food), and Ray’s.)

The Real Thing

3. The World of Coke – An entire museum dedicated to Coca-Cola. I don’t think this one requires more explanation.

4. Driving in  Traffic – Driving in a new city is always a bit stressful, but driving in Atlanta during traffic is just miserable. And, if you are just in town for a visit, it can ruin what should be a great trip. My suggestions are utilize MARTA or travel across town when it isn’t rush hour.

Now that I’ve made you never want to visit Atlanta. Ever. Be sure to come back tomorrow for reasons you should.

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Thirty-One Trips for Thirty-One Years (OR 2012 Travel Resolutions)

Thirty  trips for thirty years! We did it kids. In the calendar year of 2011 we successfully completed thirty trips. We have now entered calendar year 2012 and you know what that means… I’m turning 31. Say it with me now, “Thirty-one trips for thirty-one years”!

THE View in Mauritius: My #1 Travel Photo of 2011 (oh and the girl in the pink sari playing on the beach...)

I’m kidding. Danimal would have a fit. I mean he has…

Dan: Why are you doing a blog post? You already did your 30 trips.

Me: The blog doesn’t stop now… it is just getting started.

Dan: Ugh.

Me: Thirty-One for Thirty-One!!!!!

Dan: Or you could stay here this year.

Me: That sounds like a boring travel blog.

The goal of 2012 is not thirty-one trips. (Although my not-so-secret inner wish is that it happens.) These are the 2012 Travel Resolutions… in no particular order.

1. Take more trips with Danimal. He is my #1, and of the thirty trips we only got to go together on eleven of them.

My Favorite 2011 Danimal + Megan Travel Photo: Grand Tetons

2. Recap some epic travel places I have been previously. You guys NEED to know about them and visit them for yourselves. Travel tips and recommendations to be included… naturally.

Hong Kong: I LOVE this place

3. Photo Fridays: Not every post needs loads of text. Sometimes a picture really does say a thousand words.

1,000 Words

4. Highlight some of my other favorite travel blogs. These peeps give GREAT advice.

5. Plan the most wonderful and crazy-awesome 5th Wedding Anniversary trip with Danimal. (Just wait until y’all see my dream destination list…)

Time to buckle up folks… the 2012 travel year is upon us.

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