Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Hello, Atlanta!

As most of you know, Mike accepted a job in GA about a month ago. It was a risk-taking decision, but so far, so good! He loves what he's doing and really happy with it :) The downside is that he's been there for a few weeks, so I flew up to Atlanta this past weekend to see him and to visit Atlanta for the first time. We had a blast! What a great city Atlanta is!

We stayed at the Renaissance hotel in midtown, which was gorgeous! We had a top floor room with a really great view. I flew in Saturday morning and we went to Coca Cola World (Coke is based in Atlanta). This place was really neat - they had tons of old paraphernalia dating back to the 1800s.
We made a new friend

They also had some cool interactive stuff to play around with.
We got "bubble-ized!"
The famous red couch from American Idol.
Up until last Thursday, the vault with the original recipe for Coca Cola was kept at the SunTrust building downtown. They finally moved it to Coca Cola World in honor of Coke's 125th anniversary. You're only allowed to be in this room for one minute and if you get too close to the vault, an alarm goes off telling you to please move away.

They also had a sampling room with over 60 different kinds of sodas from around the world - all made by the Coca Cola company - and you get unlimited samples. If you've ever been to Epcot and visited the soda sampling room, it's the same concept except WAY bigger. Each kiosk is broken down by region. The Italian soda called Beverly was, by far, the worst one. Way to go, Italians...

After 63 samples...

After we were done, we grabbed lunch and headed to SweetWater Brewery to meet up with Mike's friend Scott and his wife. We love SweetWater beer but unfortunately, it's not that easy to find. They sell them all over GA and have just started branching out to other places. The furthest south you can find it is in Gainesville. The brewery there is great - for $10, you get a pint glass to keep, plus you get 6 tickets to have your glasses filled up with any of the beers they have on tap, along with a brewery tour. It was packed but a cool place to hang out.

After that, we went back to the hotel, went out for dinner and some drinks and then crashed early. We had both been up early that day so we were beat.

The rooftop deck of our hotel.

Someone turned their tree into a snowman. Love it!

Mike and his friend, Scott. Naturally, we can't go anywhere without finding a Gator bar.
On Sunday, we got up and went to brunch and walked around downtown Decatur for a little while. We drove around some of the neighborhoods and then went to Piedmont Park - kind of like a mini Central Park.

Later that night after dinner, Mike took me to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens to see their Christmas lights display. It was so pretty and a great way to end the weekend! It felt very festive too :)

Of course, Mike found his orange and blue!

And I found my green and gold!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tis the season!

December 1st and woke up to 45 degrees today - love it! It definitely feels like Christmas. I started decorating the house this week and watched the lighting of the tree at Rockefeller last night. Not gonna lie - totally got misty-eyed. I miss walking by that tree on my way home from work every day! I would purposely walk a few extra blocks to a different subway so I could pass down that way. It was the best!

Thanksgiving was really nice! We flew up to Wisconsin and stayed with Mike's godmother (Michelle and her husband came too). They live in a beautiful house on a lake. On Thursday, we started our day at Mike's uncle's house, complete with a full meal, some wine and a Packers game. Later that day, we went back to the house we were staying at and had Thanksgiving dinner #2. Needless to say, we were spent by the end of the night! On Friday, we went to visit with Mike and Michelle's grandmother for lunch, and then went to their aunt's house to visit with some of the family from their mom's side. It was really great seeing everyone and spending time with family!

Thanksgiving with the Goreckis

Mike's weak when it comes to desserts.

 That's how they do it in Wisconsin. Go Pack Go!

In case you're wondering what side of the family Mike gets his humor from...

(Some of) the crew at Thanksgiving #2. 

So festive sitting by the fireplace.

In case you're wondering where all that pie from the earlier picture went...

Outside in grandma Gorecki's yard.

Saturday morning, Mike and I got up bright and early and took the train to Chicago to see our friend, Jenny. Since we'd been to Chicago several times before, we had already done most of the touristy stuff and didn't really have any set plans. We spent some time walking around the city, looking at Christmas decorations and then reluctantly watched the UF/FSU game later that night. We all know how that turned out, so we won't speak of it. On Sunday, we walked around the city a little and then saw the Muppet movie. It was great! Definitely felt like a kid again :)

German village outside Daly Plaza.

Inside Macy's (the old Marshall Field's). So pretty!

Our traditional "beer flight" that we do at every new brewery we visit. 

Hoping this shot will help us forget the awful score...

Garrett's Popcorn - famous popcorn place with the BEST gingerbread popcorn!

Mmm...our favorite. Blue Point oysters.

Love that Chicago skyline!

Next weekend, we'll be up in Atlanta. We're just all over the place, lately! The countdown to Christmas is on. Clearly, Penny is super excited...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

So hard to believe that 2011 is coming to an end and Thanksgiving is 2 short days away! Tomorrow, we are flying up to Wisconsin to celebrate Thanksgiving with Mike's extended family. We haven't been there since Thanksgiving 2008 so it will be nice to head up there. On Saturday morning, we are taking the train to Chicago and spending Saturday and Sunday in the city with our friend, Jenny. Chicago is very near and dear to our hearts since that's where we got engaged last year! I'm also looking forward to some colder weather FINALLY. Our meteorologists down here apparently like to mess with us and keep telling us a "cold front" is coming through. "Cold front" means that the temperature is dropping from 85 to 77...Not cool, meteorologists, not cool at all. How about you use the term "cool front" when it drops below 70 and use the term "cold front" when I'll actually be able to walk out of the house in my boots and wool pea coat. Sound good?
(And to all you northerners reading that who think I'm nuts for wanting colder weather this time of year, imagine waking up Christmas morning and not being able to turn on the fire place because it's 85 degrees out and songs like "Let It Snow!" and "Frosty the Snowman" are playing. Doesn't quite add up. Bing Crosby dreamt of a white Christmas and so do I.)

There's also been some changes around our household... Unfortunately, Mike lost his job about a month ago. After vigorously job searching, an old boss of his hooked him up with a great Georgia. He'll be working for an owner who has purchased several locations around the Georgia area (mostly around the Atlanta area) and is building new fitness centers. It may sound like a risky opportunity, but Mike feels very confident in the job and it's a great chance for him to finally work for his own  company (that he began a few years ago) and expand to new areas. Right now, he's up there for a few days a week and then working the rest of the time from home. What does this mean for us in the long run? Not sure, but there is a lot of potential for him in Georgia and way more potential for me in my industry up there than there is down here in Tampa. We've discussed our options so we'll soon see what 2012 has in store for us...

Penny's doing well. No huge updates on her except that she's getting to be a little chunkster. Mike had to take her to the vet on Saturday for a shot she needs to be boarded this week, and she has gained 5 pounds! We knew she got bigger but not 5 pounds bigger! She eats like a horse, though, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. She started a new basic obedience class and of course, is the most hyper one there in her class of 10 dogs. She thinks it's social hour and has to make sure she says "hi" to everyone there about 10 times. For her graduation next month, we have to teach her a trick on our own and she has to do it for the class. God help us.

Hope everyone has a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy November!

Hard to believe it's November 1st already! 2011 has flown right by, that's for sure. It's definitely been a very busy and life-changing year!

This past weekend, we celebrated Halloween. Saturday morning, we took Penny to Davis Island for "Wag-o-ween" - a Halloween event for pets! When I was originally looking for a costume for her, I took her to a few places and tried some costumes on her. Turns out, Penny is not a fan of anything on her head. It also turns out that about 90% of the dog costumes out there consist of some sort of headpiece. I found one at Petco but immediately put it down when I saw it was $30. $30 for a small piece of fabric that my dog will wear for an hour and then probably use as a chew toy? Sorry, Petco, but you failed on this one. I decided to let my creative juices flow and made her a homemade costume - a butterfly! Penny likes to chase them when she sees them out in the yard, so I thought maybe she'd like to see what it's like to be one. A trip to Michael's and Marshalls and $11 later, I had this...

Can't you tell she loves it?
The Wag-o-ween event was a lot of fun! They had a costume contest (some stupid little white dog in a store-bought ladybug outfit won. Lame.). The dogs went "trick or treating" and got bags of treats and food. They also had a dog caricaturist and "paw art." Penny made us a lovely yellow and green paw print canvas.

"Hi mom! I'm sitting nice for the artist."

Yep - it's on the fridge. Until we have kids, this is what you get.

Saturday night, Mike and I went to a friend's house party for Halloween. We did a couples costume and went as Hugh Hefner and a Playboy Bunny. I tried to make myself look like the 1960's bunnies with the ears and tail, though my 60's hair flip fell out after about an hour (I was "blessed" with stick-straight hair...). I got the idea from a recent show that was on (The Playboy Club, which I never watched, but NBC cancelled after 3 episodes so I guess I didn't miss much). I thought the vintage outfits were cute. It was also a pretty cheap way to go. Mike borrowed the robe from a friend and had everything else (If you've seen our honeymoon pics, you'll recognize the hat from Venice...) and I borrowed the corset and bought the accessories, which all came together anyway. Easy enough!

Happy Halloween!
Sadly, we only had one trick-or-treater last night! There's not too many kids in our neighborhood, so I'm not real surprised. For what it's worth, though, the one that we had was absolutely adorable so it was worth it! He couldn't have been more than 3 years old and he was dressed as a dinosaur. He asked if Penny would bite and I said no, but that she was probably scared of him since he was a dinosaur so he "roared" at her and it was probably the cutest thing ever! I did miss seeing all the kids out and about, though. Maybe this time next year we'll live in a neighborhood full of kids so we can actually get more than just one come by. 

That's if for now! Off to Gainesville this weekend to UF homecoming on Friday night and to watch the Gators lose again play on Saturday. It's a noon game so hopefully the good weather gods bless us with a nice day!