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...