celebrating 30 years of craig

Happy belated birthday to my favorite person and best friend! The past couple weeks have been busy busy busy with traveling to both Nashville and New Orleans, so this is a tad late…. but who doesn’t like their birthday to last all month?

Craig’s 30th birthday fell on Saturday, 10.20.12 — the day of the Auburn/Vandy football game in none other than Nashville, Craig’s hometown and one of his favorite places. It worked out perfectly for us to plan a weekend trip there with our friends, and surprisingly, most of them who came were UGA fans. Thanks, guys!

We got in some quality family celebrations for both Craig’s 30th and Cassie’s 13th birthdays before the weekend got started… they involved lots of delicious food and chocolate pies. We visited with his grandparents, got to see his cousin Torrie and her husband Chris, and also got to meet 2 new babies! It was so fun finally getting to see Craig’s long-time friend Pricey’s son Asa and Craig’s new baby cousin Bree.

The rest of the weekend consisted of a lot of honkey-tonks downtown, a freezing trip to the Vandy stadium for the Auburn game, and a fun downtown “living room” at Bailey’s, where we watched UGA pull out a win. We ended the trip with a quick breakfast at Puckett’s Grocery (had to) with Lauren and Drew. I love that place — so not healthy, but pretty good Southern food… and lots of high-priced groceries that I doubt anyone buys, but they’re fun to look at.

I always love going back to Nashville. Lots of family, friends, good food, and entertainment. I’ve still never spotted a country star, but I haven’t gotten my hopes up yet… Anyway, thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate Craig’s 30th birthday! It meant the world to both him and me to have so many important people there with us, and we had the best time! I think 30 is going to be an amazing year for my favorite guy!


…. for all of the birthday love!

There’s not too much to say since I posted so many photos elsewhere, but I just wanted to say thank you to my amazing family, friends, and husband for helping me celebrate the beginning of my last year of my 20s. Where did the time go? How are all of our friends already turning 29 and 30? This has been a pretty awesome year, though, filled with lots of trips (to Chicago, Nashville, St. Augustine, Lake Tahoe, Costa Rica, San Francisco, NYC, and VA Beach — phew! how was there time for all of that?)… we got to witness my little brother proposing to his amazing girlfriend… several other friends have gotten engaged, married, and are having their first babies… I had my 2-year anniversary with Stella & Dot and my 6-year anniversary with the Center for Puppetry Arts this summer…. there’s just been so much to celebrate and be thankful for! And I look forward to this year being even better — mostly because I’m going to be gaining a sister when Andrew and Lauren get married next May!!

Some favorite photos from the bday celebration week…

Dinner at one of my favorite restaurants, The Iberian Pig, in Decatur::

Whoopie Pies brought in by my coworker, Hilary::

Peanut butter & Chocolate — my fave combo::

Annual Triple Birthday Celebration — Danielle, Big Mac (Adam), and me::

Fried goodness — mini corn dogs and fried pimiento cheese balls::

29 until further notice… we’re all going to adopt this idea::

Andrew & Lauren::

Some of my favorite girls::

And some favorite friends from college::

Everyone needs a cookie cake::

a greek dance party & a restaurant review:: taverna plaka

Last Saturday, we were invited to a large group dinner to celebrate our friend Rachel’s 29th birthday. Dinner was at Taverna Plaka, a Greek restaurant in Buckhead known for a party atmosphere — think belly dancers, napkin-throwing, and birthday celebrators dancing on the dinner tables. It’s definitely not an ideal spot for a romantic dinner, but it’s a lot of fun for groups, especially those celebrating birthdays, bachelorettes, and the like.

We had about 20 people and were crammed in among several other very large parties. Needless to say, a spacious dining area is not a priority, but it was… cozy. The music was loud and fun, and the belly dancers were highly entertaining. It took what seemed like forever to get our drink and appetizer orders, but we weren’t in a hurry. Our table shared the stuffed grape leaves and the fried meatballs. I’d say the meatballs (covered in a yummy tzatziki sauce) were definitely the favorite, and they were devoured within seconds of being set on the table.

Our waiter’s favorite dish was the “beef cakes” (basically little oval-shaped hamburger patties with more tzatziki sauce), Greek fries, and a Greek salad. Several of us girls took his advice and ordered the beef cakes – I think partly just because of the funny name. Craig went for the healthier option and ordered salmon. Dinner was pretty yummy all around, but the best part was definitely the atmosphere and the entertainment. By the time we finished dinner, the birthday girl was on top of the table dancing with a piece of baklava on a plate.  (It was delicious, btw. Baklava is one of my faves that I rarely find, and it always reminds me of the Greek restaurant that our family friends used to own at home.) Rachel danced with the belly dancer and she danced with a birthday boy turning 22. Napkin-throwing seemed to be the trend of the night. Napkins repeatedly ended up in our plates while eating, but that’s just part of the party. I think it’s kind of gross and kind of hilarious that people are walking all over the tables where we’re eating our dinner, but again…. just part of the party!

happy birthday to you and a restaurant review:: rosebud

This week, we celebrated the 30th birthday of a dear college friend, Grams (or Ashile, but I prefer her college nickname). We’re at that stage where we’ll be celebrating the big 3-0 many, many times over the span of the next year or so…. and while we’ve been celebrating older friends’ 30th birthdays for a while now, Grams is the first friend my age (meaning we were in the same grade in school) that has hit this milestone birthday. It’s sort of unbelievable that we’re already at this point in our lives — old enough to be married, own a home, have kids (for some people), and to have been working several years longer than the amount of time we were in college (even with a super senior year included).

To celebrate Grams’ special day, she gathered some of her closest girlfriends who live in town for a delicious dinner at Rosebud in Morningside/VA Highlands. I’ve been here several times before, and they have an amazing brunch menu (with funny bfast sandwiches like The Big Nasty). They even have Monday Night Brunch, where one of their specialties is Chicken & Waffles — my fave.

We were there on a Wednesday, and their nightly specials were Big Salads. I was tempted by the “Dude, it’s a Salad” dish that came with bacon and a big Kobe beef patty on top, but I went for the slightly lighter option. I chose the Crab Cake Salad — two perfectly-cooked peekytoe crab cakes on top of romaine with fresh GA peaches, goat cheese, and radishes. The only part I would have changed was the lettuce — I’m a big spinach fan. But the peaches were so juicy and sweet, and the goat cheese….. oh how I love goat cheese. It’s always so much better in restaurants than it is from the grocery store. Maybe that’s because I usually shop at the Kroger near our house, and I don’t think they’re known for their extensive cheese selection….

For appetizers, we split the housemade pimiento cheese w/housemade spicy saltines, mushroom potato skins, and blue cheese & bacon stuffed dates. All three were excellent! How can you go wrong with lots of cheese and bacon? We didn’t try any desserts because we brought our own cookie cake. After 5-10 minutes of the wait staff thinking they’d lost our cake (it was sitting on our table the whole time), they were even nice enough to slice and serve it for us. Cookie cake is the perfect ending to a meal in my book. I’d eat it for breakfast.

Grams, I wish you the happiest of birthdays! I know your 30s are going to bring you so many wonderful things!