Browsing Tag

Food

Different Food & Dinner Options for Your Wedding

Ponce City Market, Wedding, PCM, Carter Center, Atlanta, Wedding, Photographer, Roof, Skyline, Rooftop,

I’m making a few assumptions with this post.

  1. You want food available/to feed your guests something
  2. You’re feeding them dinner

Of course you absolutely have the option of not really providing any food for your guests (just make sure you let me know that this is NOT THAT KIND OF WEDDING). This is not unheard of – you can simply have a ‘cocktail reception’ as they say – which would still kind of mean that you’d be providing some food but more like simple appetizers and bites. Nothing resembling a meal. Unless you eat 34 bites.

Wedding Catering Food Dinner Ideas

SO. What are the dinner food options for your wedding? Or more appropriate and specifically – what are the different food service options for your wedding reception? Ah yes – Food Service Options.

Flying Caballeros Ranch, San Luis Obispo, California, Wedding, Photographer, LeahAndMark, Atlanta Wedding Photographer,

Atlanta Wedding Photographers LeahAndMark & Co.

Say it again – Food Service Options for Your Wedding Reception (that’s just SEO junk there)

  • Seated Meal
    • Alright – this is you probably already know as one of your main options. Just feed everyone a seated meal like it was a restaurant with a very limited menu. Yes there are some great benefits to having full seated meal service – but those benefits definitely add up in costs. Largely in the costs to provide enough servers/waitstaff to make sure that the plates get served in a timely manner. The problem or costs can get exponentially greater as the number of your guests grows. Definitely something to keep in mind. You’ll also want to balance out the quality of the food with the number of guests and costs. A seated meal/dinner service is often thought of as the most traditional food service but that doesn’t mean that you can’t go with one of the other options and still have an amazingly impressive wedding reception.
  • Family-Style Meal
    • You know how some restaurants say they serve food ‘family style’? Which really just means they bring the food on slightly larger plates to your table and make you serve yourselves. Right. Okay. This is sort of in between a seated meal and a buffet. More like… a seated buffet. YES. EXACTLY. Feels fancy like a seated meal but unfancy like Golden Corral…
  • Buffet Meal
    • Ahahaha I just made a Golden Corral joke just now and it was HILARIOUS (see above like two lines.) – okay your wedding reception buffet doesn’t have to be like the amazing buffet at Golden Corral – because that’s some DAMN FINE FOOD THEY HAVE THERE. No seriously. I LOVE Golden Corral. I only eat like 3 things and pile on 5 plates of the stuff – but I LOVE those three things. Same with your wedding reception buffet. You give people the opportunity to eat as much as they want of the same 3 things and leave the rest for the rest of the people… often times cheaper than a seated meal and with way more food for everyone. Just don’t go cheap okay? As in – barely enough food for people. I’ve seen roast beef sliced so thin and small that it was basically cold cuts.
  • Brunch or Lunch
    • This changes your whole day. If you’re not having a dinner reception then you don’t have to have dinner food. Heck – if you’re having a dinner reception, you don’t have to have dinner food either. Anyway – breakfast – everyone loves breakfast food. And if they don’t love breakfast food then they don’t need to be attending your wedding because they’re probably some kind of miserable f*cker. (WHO DOESN’T LIKE BREAKFAST FOOD?!) Oh yeah – and if you’re having a brunch/breakfast/lunch wedding reception – the drinking will probably be WAY LESS than if you were just partying the night away. Boom. Saved you some money. YOU’RE WELCOME.
  • Heavy H’orderves/Cocktail hour
    • IDK. I said something up there earlier about how you don’t have to serve as much food if you’re just serving heavy h’orderves – unless that’s what you’re serving for dinner – then you DO have to serve just as much food… which may or may not save you money. Because I know we served heavy h’orderves for dinner at our wedding and that was still damn expensive. What do I know about any of this really – I’m a photographer.

Atlanta; Wedding; Cator Woolford Gardens; Photographer; LeahAndMark & Co.; Outdoor; Fall Wedding; Summer Wedding; Green; Nature; Traditional

Alright! Thank you! You’re awesome!

 

Wedding. Catering. Food. Advice. Options. Dinner. Meals. Planning. Atlanta. Photographer. LeahAndMark.

Wednesday by Leah: Feeding BabyRoX

I had to leave BabyRoX for 3 whole days and 2 nights last weekend. It was a last-minute trip to Indiana for a friend’s funeral. It was really hard to be away, but I did it! And BabyRoX was fine. And I’m really, really glad I went. I took last week off to do some much-needed grieving and reflecting. One of my reflections, not related to my friend, is… man, pumping sucks. I never minded it when I only had to do it sporadically, but pumping around the clock was way more of a chore than breastfeeding. Mad props to those moms out there who pump every day!

Right now, BabyRoX nurses about 6 times in a 24-hour period. He eats anywhere between 3 and 7 oz of milk each time (I’m guessing, based on how much comes out when I pump!). I had gotten lazy about keeping my freezer supply of milk well stocked. I’ve donated milk, and I’ve even had to throw it out when it gets too old to keep and I didn’t find a mom in need in time. But I am so glad I had *just* enough milk to leave for 3 days. Actually, Mark had to water down the last two bottles. Now I’m going to make sure to keep that freezer full of milk until BabyRoX is eating solids for the majority of his nutrition.

Two months ago, we started exploring the fun and messy world of solid food. We’re doing a hybrid of baby-led weaning and the Montessori approach to weaning. With baby-led weaning, you introduce solids in their regular form – no purées or baby food. You let the child choose what they want to eat and let them explore the food and feed themselves, you don’t spoon-feed the child. Mealtimes happen at the family dining table (or the restaurant, if you’re out and about). This is a really easy approach because it doesn’t involve making baby food. It’s messy, of course, and you have to watch the child carefully to make sure he/she doesn’t choke on food. You also don’t give them ANY and EVERY food – you start out with soft, easy to eat foods like avocado and sweet potato, steamed veggies, etc. I’m not feeding BabyRoX filet mignon or anything. Duh.

The Montessori approach advocates self-feeding, as well, but uses a child-size table and chair (weaning table), instead of having the child in a high chair right away. The emphasis is on learning about mealtime rituals – using utensils, setting the table, cleaning up, drinking from a glass, etc. Initially, food is introduced at a time separate from the family mealtime so that the parent can focus on the child and help the child learn table etiquette and just get used to eating in general. Actually, the awesome blog How We Montessori has a great comparison of the two approaches to weaning/starting solids: here!

So for at least one meal a day BabyRoX eats with us. We have an awesome clamp-to-the-table highchair (this one) so that he can be a part of all the mealtime action. I also give him at least one meal a day at his weaning table. I bought a tiny chair that fits him perfectly and the table right now is a nightstand that just happens to be the right height and super sturdy, but we do need to purchase an actual table soon. He’s had a variety of foods so far and loved almost all of them. He is NOT a fan of creamed spinach or oatmeal. He likes pretty much everything else. Rice, rice cereal, mango, tomato, avocado, sweet potato, broccoli, beets, regular spinach, kale, zucchini, carrots, apples, etc. We’ve explored a lot of foods already. He tried salmon yesterday and loved it. I also don’t just give him bland foods. He’s had spiced-up things already and really seems to like the flavors. He says, “Mmmmmm!” enthusiastically and reaches for more food and/or bangs on the table when he wants more. We’re currently trying to teach him sign language for more instead of table-banging and food-grabbing….but it’s a process.

Eating is fun, and usually very messy. If we’re at a restaurant I try to give him some food he can eat easily without much mess and I help him eat the rest by holding it and letting him guide my hand towards his mouth. I don’t ever shovel food in or try to make him eat anything. Again, he gets almost all of his nutrients from breastmilk still, so eating is more about learning how to eat and getting exposed to various flavors right now.

He has a little glass he can sip milk or water from. Sometimes he sips it nicely and puts it back down. Other times he spills it down his shirt (or bib…I often take his clothes off to feed him dinner because it gets so messy!), and then tries to bang the cup on the table. Again, it’s a process. I don’t expect to have a perfectly well-mannered child at 8 months of age, but I do want him to begin learning proper table etiquette and how to use utensils. I also let him eat with his hands a lot, because a.) that’s easiest and b.) it’s fun and c.) it lets him explore the textures of the foods better. But I also give him a spoon and/or spork and let him try to feed himself that way. We end every meal by wiping hands, mouth, and table. He usually tries to eat the wipe I give him, but sometimes he wipes himself, too. He’s learning!

It’s fun, it’s cute, we have a good time. I’m not super strict on anything food/weaning related other than making sure we are watching him eat in case he chokes and giving him healthy foods as opposed to processed, refined sugar stuff. Yay, food!

Food Photography with the Intern Army

Atlanta Commercial Food | Product Photography | LeahAndMark.com

– Posted by Mark

Last Monday the Intern Army and I photographed some food in the studio.

Now you’ve probably noticed – we don’t photograph products or food around here that often – so it’s definitely not one of our ‘specialties’. However – this has been a very interesting and educational process – and I’m not even talking about the taking pictures part. That’s actually the easy stuff. The interesting part has been everything we’ve done to really understand what the client wanted as far as the content of the photos, but more importantly, the overall look, feel, and impression left by the photos – along with how to achieve those impressions that we wanted the viewer to have after seeing each photo.

For example – one of the 20 products we shot is a line of different granola. Instead of just showing good, clear, glossy photos of the granola – you want to show people how they might actually EAT the granola. How it might be used and consumed – instead of just taking beautiful photos of a product, you’re taking beautiful photos of the product in a way that’s familiar to the end user. While at the same time, in line with the style of the brand in its current state, or even helping to redefine the brand in a new way. So different from say, being an arrogant wedding photographer/artist that shoots with THEIR VISION and ONLY their vision – you need to really understand and deliver what your client wants and balance that with whatever artistic ego you feel like holding on to.

Atlanta Commercial Food | Product Photography | LeahAndMark.com

And there were a lot of different individual pieces and products – so I brought in the Intern Army and we set up three stations in our Studio.

1. Packaging
2. Raw Ingredients
3. Styled (even though they were all technically ‘styled’)

Oh – and this time I was smart enough to hire our Stylist, LoriGami to work on the shoot with us. While my ego might argue that taking/making these photos is hard work – the truth is that the real reason these photos are successful is because Lori did a great job making everything look amazing. When we needed different options, different setups, or new ideas – Lori handled everything. Props, setups, food wrangling, and more.

All we did as photographers was manage the light, and take the photos. Well – of course light is kind of a big deal – especially if you’ve ever tried taking product photos without proper lighting.

See? – we were like a product-photo-factory that day and we definitely knocked out an amazing number of shots in those 7 hours.

And yes – by the end, we had probably eaten more granola that day than we have all year.

Atlanta Commercial Food | Product Photography | LeahAndMark.com

Atlanta Commercial Food | Product Photography | LeahAndMark.com

Atlanta Commercial Food | Product Photography | LeahAndMark.com

Atlanta Commercial Food | Product Photography | LeahAndMark.com

Atlanta Commercial Food | Product Photography | LeahAndMark.com

Atlanta Commercial Food | Product Photography | LeahAndMark.com

 

BlackTie BBQ | Low Country Boil

This past Saturday we photographed another one of BlackTie BBQ’s Secret Suppers. This time it was a low-country boil. In case you missed the first few – we photographed their Cinco de Mayo event, and then also the last Secret Supper that was held on stage at Theatrical Outfit. The food was Out.Standing.

The low-country boil was at the Atlanta Goat Farm. Yes. The Atlanta Goat Farm.

We photograph events that interest us. Not necessarily the event itself, but the conditions – specifically the challenges. Above everything else, photography is light. Aside from composition – we focus on handling light no matter what situation is thrown at us. That includes the middle of the day with no cloud cover, a black box, or a rainy day wedding – ‘bad light’ is never an excuse. No matter what any photographer tells you – there is no bad light – there is only light that they don’t know how to control or manage.

I started out planning on setting up a few light stands, cross lighting the space and shooting it like any other event – except I had four interns with me and not enough gear to go around. So I decided to make it a challenge for all of us. Attach a flash to our hotshoes and see what we get.

Now – you might be new to us here at LeahAndMark.com so you probably don’t know how we feel about ‘on-camera’ flash. Basically – we don’t do it. We see many event photographers using big white tupperware diffusers on their $400 flashes, turning them into… soft light bulbs. From the start we decided that we were never going to make photos that way. I know – other photographers swear by them and generally we’re the only ones not using them… hey, that alone makes sure our photos will be different from everyone else’s – even if we have to work harder.

In the shot above you can see a good 15 feet back into the space – all lit with our on camera flashes with no tupperware diffuser. What some people don’t realize is that those diffusers cut the light so much that you’re rarely ever able to throw it past 4 feet and then you get complete darkness, and a flat looking photo where the people are bright bright bright and then it’s just black behind them – they look like they’re floating in space. We don’t like that look.

The interns are sometimes more comfortable starting off shooting details shots – the ‘stuff” – so lately I’ve been giving them that job completely and you’ll see shots from earlier in the evening in the intern posts.

I didn’t really start shooting until the last hour and a half and that’s when me and all of the interns were technically stuck with the same restrictions (on camera flash, low light conditions, small space with a finite number of shots) – so I told them we were all ‘competing’ because it’s too easy to just ‘check out’ and accept boring photos when given a difficult shooting situation.

If anything – I did not want us to give up and resort to a gallery of posed ‘get together and look at the camera’ type photos. So we all worked the entire time of the event, looking for shots that were less standard and more up to par with how I’ve photographed events in the past. Click. Click. Click.

Because there are few things that separate a good event photographer from everyone else on Facebook with a ‘photography fan page’ – and one of those things is the determination to work an entire event, looking for the best shots even if they don’t come until the last 10 minutes. Because we don’t wait for inspiration, or the perfect conditions, or even luck – but we do work the entire time, and even if we don’t succeed, we aim for beautiful photography, not just ‘good coverage’ of the event.

Below are the blog entries and photos by the interns who helped photograph this event with me:

Deborah | Christy | Robby | Maigh

Atlanta. Event. Photographer. Wedding. Low. Country. Boil. LeahAndMark.com

BlackTie BBQ | Secret Supper

Check out the Photo Gallery Here.

Last Wednesday I was hired to photograph Black Tie BBQ’s Cinco de Mayo Secret Supper. Secret Location, Secret Menu, and Secret Guest List – basically you purchase a ticket and then you receive an email 24-48 hours before the event with all of the information. I’ve worked with Black Tie BBQ before on two previous occasions and they’ve never disappointed – in fact, as you’ll see from the photos, they do an excellent job of hosting a party, AND providing some really great food.

As with all of our event photography – no matter what – we try to get more than the basic ‘get together and smile’ shots of the attendees. Of course I’ll get those required shots just to make sure I get enough ‘coverage’ – but one of the things that I’m trying to get across to our interns is that they should focus on capturing the atmosphere. Not just the people. Sure they play a central role, but you don’t get atmosphere by photographing people squeezing together, trying to pose for a photo. You get it by photographing people doing things. You get it by putting yourself in a position to get the best shot – not just a good one.

Hey Look – Intern Jenna came along with me to work the event.

One of the noticeable qualities of our photographs has always been the light – or rather, how we handle light. Honestly, part of this is understanding our cameras and a little bit about editing – but the most important part of how we handle light is simply – we’re not afraid to take it on. Granted – this was initially due to the fact that I just didn’t know enough to realize that I shouldn’t be shooting a certain way in certain conditions. So I ended up trying a lot of things and eventually I learned how much leeway I had when it came to certain light conditions.

Speaking about the photo below – it took about 2 exposures and some chimping (looking at the display screen on the back of your camera) before I got to this one – and the subject did her part by looking cool for me. It’s probably one of my favorite among many from that day – because of the light.

Now. We have 9 interns – but obviously they’re more than that to us. Leah and I have really made ourselves accountable and taken on a fair amount of responsibility to teach them a few things. Along with all of the technical stuff ( ha, like using off camera flashes that have two settings – on and off), I especially like bringing them with me on photo shoots. Even better are the shoots where there isn’t much space. Because restrictions force you to be creative, and for us – the more restrictions, the easier it is to be creative – because you have to make up cool stuff OR ELSE. At least that’s how it is in my head.

Of course – sometimes you just need to stop thinking and start shooting. Other times, you need to talk to people so that they feel more comfortable with you and the big camera you’re sticking their face. Other times, you just need to hold your ground and get your shot, even when other people are about to yell at you. Yeah. All of those things.

In the end though – all of this event photography we do is really just practice for the weddings we photograph. It helps to keep our shots fresh from wedding to wedding. Photographers should be photographing – and we photograph everything. Because we’re trying to discover new things with our photos and our own skills – and you don’t discover things by photographing just weddings, or just family portraits, or just models.

Check Out The Photo Gallery HERE.

Food Photos

DSC_8954b

Last Sunday we finally got a chance to shoot the Garlic Clove Foods products in their cooked/prepared versions. In the photo up above are the grains out of the packages and placed into a light box. The photos below were taken in Dean and Amy’s backyard.

We arrived at 10:30 and immediately started shooting. We were outdoors in the backyard and we didn’t use anything but natural light for the food. I know – us, using natural light! Crazy huh? Actually – as much as it seems like I don’t like natural light photographers – I just don’t like the ones who don’t know how to work with the sun and instead use it as an ‘excuse’ to create bad photos rather than a light source… but that’s a whole other rant.

For most of the shoot there were clouds hanging around which did a great job of diffusing the light just enough to power down the sun but still create nice shadows on the table. Now you can always push enough light to get rid of all shadows and make a really clean photo – but with food that’s not what I want. I don’t want it completely ‘clean’ because it doesn’t necessarily look sterile, but it adds that sterile feeling – and I don’t want food photos to look or feel sterile.

Of course you can’t have a big messy plate of food just plopped down with a spoon. But you can warm up the photo and give it context and set it down in a setting where it looks like it would actually be eaten – and not just a white background with some glowing soft light. Of course, I like to photograph people so maybe I’m just completely out of my realm here and shouldn’t be saying anything at all.

DSC_9065

This is a wide shot of Leah helping me test out our light setup for when we shot Dean and Amy with their kids. Since I’m mostly a strobist photographer – here’s the strobist info:

  • Sun diffused through clouds in the upper left
  • Umbrella’d 285hv camera right (you can see the tip of the umbrella)
  • a bare Vivitar 2600 in the back right corner – that’s what’s lighting up the side of Leah’s face

DSC_8989

Aside from all of the technical light stuff you normally have to worry about when making photographs – with food it’s even more important that you get a good composition with interesting lines, shapes, and textures. All of those.

And I didn’t just want to shoot the same 3/4 circle-plate overhead shot. You know what I’m talking about. The ones that started out as artsy but is now food-photos-by-numbers.

Yeah. I didn’t want to just get those shots – and when I did, I always tried to add some other items that would just barely edge into the photo. Sure you want to emphasize the specific dish – but not if it’s an uninteresting photo. Because then you end up with a photo that focuses on the product but that no one gives a second thought. Of course – there are examples where this is just wrong.

We have to admit – we’re not food stylist and we probably couldn’t have cooked all of the food to make it look anywhere near as delicious. That’s all Amy’s doing and she did a great job.  Sure, we moved plates, silverware, and glass – but come on, if the food looked bad… it would take a lot more work. I’m not saying that it would be impossible – because I’m pretty confident we can make most objects look good – but a lot of the work in the cooked food photos was already done for us.

DSC_9314

Since this was all real food and not just pretend food – we all sat down to lunch afterwards.

Still. Here comes November and more photo shoots.

Ymail? El Myr.

I signed up for a Ymail account (Yahoo’s new email system that’s supposed to be cool? awesome?) – I don’t really know what I’ll use it for since ummmm… since I have like 10 email addresses, all signed-up for various things that I no longer care for. But still. The chance to have another ‘MarkRoX@domain.com’ email address is always too much for me to ignore.

For dinner we walked ourselves down the street to El Myr. Good stuff. And again – much better than The Albert. (I am still really annoyed by that place…) We’re definitely going to get our bikes all ready to go – just for these trips down the road because it always starts out as ‘not hot’ and then we end up dying from the humidity by the time we get there. And then the walk back? After we’re full of food and beer? Yeah. It’s even worse. So. Bikes!

In case you haven’t noticed – we have a donation counter over there at the top of the sidebar. Actually, the reason it’s there is because I’m using it as an example of an online donation meter that we can use for this fundraiser we’re doing with StandUp for Kids. But – I thought it would be kind of funny to have a fund raiser for our lunch. So we’ll see right? Eh.

For some reason, I can’t take good pictures of beer. Bottles? Nope. No matter how cool a label they have, I just haven’t figured it out yet. This one? Blurry. I’ll have to practice more. (which obviously entails more beer drinking!)

Burritos are trouble for me too – I think mainly because I can’t hold still. In one had I’m holding the thing and in the other I’m pressing the camera button. 99% of the time it’s blurrrrrry. Still. This one was good. Probably the best grilled fish burrito I’ve ever had… but I haven’t really had too many if any. Still. Good. Awesome. Filling. Worth the $7. That’s another thing – El Myr isn’t over priced at all. AND, you can get a $6 pitcher of PBR. Sure it’s not super great beer… but there are times when PBR is the right choice.

This week… was pretty consistent and it didn’t fly by, but it didn’t exactly drag on either. I’m not worn out, I just see a lot of work ahead. I am happy that I’m learning quite a bit and it’s all going to payoff soon. Mostly computer junk and software that I should already know but for some reason don’t yet. Still. I’m brilliant and I can do anything because I wear glasses – and they help to maximize my knowledge intake.

If you aren’t on Yelp.com – you should get on there – and then you should stop by the Yelp event on the 17th so you can hangout with us for a while this Thursday. That’d be awesome.

Inman Park 4th of July Picnic

Last Thursday we discovered that our neighborhood has it’s own newsletter/neighborhood organization. There is a good core group and they actually hangout and have ‘porch parties’ (I think that’s cool since we never had anything like that in AZ – but no one ever hung out on their porches – not that anyone had a porch worth mentioning (except maybe if they had a pool in the backyard – but nothing like the porches they have out here in this part of the country.)

It is interesting how they actually act as a cohesive neighborhood community – where people know each other, they’ve lived here for over 20 years, and they gather in the square (or Springvale Park since it’s more hidden and private than the actual Inman Park) – all of it looking like some sort of town picnic you would see on Gilmore Girls or some other television show.

Oh and the Inman Park Neighborhood Association provided the core foods + Beer + Soda + Wine. Lots of drinks – and that’s always appreciated.

The food was really good.

Rather than baking a cake, Leah bought one that was undecorated and then… decorated it! So it was halfway homemade. 🙂

It’s also nice that our landlords’ husband is Leahs’ current boss & they’re quite active in the whole Inman Park scene. So they know most of the people and even introduced us to many more people than we can remember today. An added plus was having one of her co-workers/friends come along with her husband and son.

Now. To exaggerate the whole ‘neighborhood community’ of the whole thing – the kid games are what you ideally want at such an event: sack race, three-legged race, balloon toss, egg race… yeah.

Leah here! I wanted to type, too, but I’m letting Mark do all the photo editing/posting work.  Haha.  So, Inman Park…wow.  A real TV-type neighborhood, but cooler…cuz they have grilled tofu at their picnics!  Yum.  And a neat mix of people, too… renters, homeowners, 20-somethings and 60-somethings and kids and families and artists and business people, and everyone seems to hang out together and there is a great sense of community.  Which will be awesome for my Community Partnerships focus that makes up the core of my Social Work program.

… after the picnic, we made our way to the other side of the tracks to Cabbagetown (literally just on the other side of the tracks.) Our friends Anna & Chris live there and that’s where we spent the evening looking to the sky and watching fireworks (while being eaten alive by bugs.)

Still. Those shots and everythings are for another post.

For the rest of the photos from the: Inman Park Neighborhood Association’s July 4th’s Picnic. Click Here.

Have an awesome Saturday.

Us, Fried Chicken, Biscuits & Ark A.

1st. Y’all need to blog today so I can read.

So it’s finally Friday. Exciting times up ahead. Packing. No really, we are coming down to the wire now since the movers will come on Tuesday morning – so we’ll be doing the majority of the packing tonight and then all day Saturday and whatever’s left on Sunday.

Because writing an actual entry would take too much effort on this Friday… I’ll just talk about someone else’s entries. But first! Food that I’ve been meaning to post – but never got around to – these are from a birthday lunch that Leah’s Grandmother (Bubbi) prepared for Leah’s Father:


Homemade Fried Chicken!


Biscuits


Pecan Pie.

And you may all let go of any self control. Eat good food this weekend. 🙂

After going down the links in my sidebar to catch myself up on everyone’s posts (I really should set up that rss feed reader) – I stopped to read the latest entries from our friend Ark A. – also an Atlanta resident/transplant – about her recent trip to Canada/Toronto/Montreal. – and in the process made me feel like I’m wasting my time posting nothing posts that meander about infinitely worthless subjects. *writes note to self: ummmm… nevermind I forgot*

So while I wait for the next season of No Reservations/Anthony Bourdain to verify that this past season is where the show truly ‘Jumped the Shark’ – I just have to keep looking for travel blogs/entries like the ones Ark A. posted this last week.

The trip to Canada started on a Friday morning. A simple two hour direct flight from Atlanta and we were in Toronto International Airport, the cleanest, quietest most spacious airport I’ve ever seen.
Dad picked us up. He couldn’t believe it had been almost five years since we saw each other.
He said I hadn’t changed a bit. I love him.
This is what I call smiling so hard it hurts…

I have a lot of history in that neighborhood. Loves found, loves lost, school, work, old friends, new friends, formulating the plan to get to Seattle to meet the whole other half of my family – it all happened there.

And then when they land back in Atlanta:

A two hour flight later, I was in what can only be described as severe culture shock… Hotter than hell, humid, southern accents all around me, no French, a pig carcass that had been cooked in the ground on a long buffet table, a live auction for football jerseys and country music star albums. Where am I?

And… apparently she’s back in Montreal now. Lucky her.

Here are the three posts in order:

  1. Return to Canada – Part One: Toronto
  2. Return to Canada – Part Two: Montreal
  3. Return to Canada – Part Three: Montreal

Have a great weekend! – But obviously, we’ll have a new post up tomorrow.

Food Photos Because We’re Hungry

Eggs & Avocados - Food Photo

We didn’t realize that we already had two dozen eggs so Leah bought another dozen – so we’ve been eating eggs every morning lately + avocados! We didn’t buy bread so it’s just the two items + coffee! ‘Cause obviously, more than anything else, coffee is a breakfast staple (for me at least!)

 

Okay look. I just haven’t had the time to cook-up my 3 small meals that I eat while at work (all part of my six small meals a day-lose-weight-build-muscle-plan) so, I’ve been cheating and splitting up panda express food. But wait! Before you all out laugh at me, let’s look at the nutritional facts… ah nevermind. Ah um. Okay. The short run-down. Compared to their Orange Chicken which is about 500 calories + like 14 grams of fat per serving.

If you choose mandarin chicken or kung pao – that’s roughly 250 cal per serving + white rice which is something like 380 cal per – SO. If you get the lunch combo with 2 entrees and white rice, then divide it into two – that’s two ‘meals’ at roughly 600 calories… um. Okay. When you do the math it’s a lot I guess – but not compared to eating the whole thing at once. 1,200 calories in one sitting? AND that’s with the lighter entree options – just think if you get the orange chicken for lunch, the math works out like this: 

(500 cal per serving X 2) + (760 cal. 2 servings of rice in a to-go container) = 1,760 calories for lunch.

And now to negate all that ‘health’ talk – up above is the ‘Sunrise’ bagel sandwich – Oh, it’s so good - from my usual coffee stop before work – Bagel Boys Cafe.

Sea Salt Bagel Sandwich from Belly General Store

This is a sea salt bagel sandwich from Belly the General Store in Virginia Highlands. Leah gets these and loves them. Oh. Below is a picture of the ‘General Store’ – look, it looks all vintage and ‘old time’ – kind of like the Cracker Barrel except this place isn’t full of ‘vintage’ garbage and knick knacks that you shouldn’t ever buy.

Belly General Store in Virginia Highlands Atlanta

But still, this place is one of my favorites because of one thing. Their Nutella & Banana Panino sandwich. Forget doing the math (’cause I’d die) – I don’t see a reason for ordering anything else on their menu. I haven’t ordered anything different and I won’t – simply because I know that no matter what, I’ll wish that I had chosen to get this sandwich instead. In fact, here’s a link to our first post + video about Belly.

Nutella & Banana Panino Sandwich @ Belly General Store

It’s Thursday! Just one more after today and then we’re free for the weekend… free to pack, do homework, sleep in, eat more food, workout, and just generally rock this life.

 

 

Mi Barrio Mexican Cantina/Restaurant

Mi Barrio Mexican Cantina in Grant Park, on Memorial Ave., across from Oakland Cemetery and down the street from Six Feet Under – truly has some of the best, home-made/authentic SouthWest Mexican food in Atlanta. The GOOD stuff that you would have at any family gathering if you have any hispanic heritage in ya, and live in Arizona, New Mexico or Texas. Well – actually what you have here is a better version of the good junk you can get at any of the ‘-Bertos’* Mexican food shacks back in Arizona.

And the rambling begins.

If you have only one cat, I kind of understand letting it go out and about outdoors. Especially if you’re not home all day, or just too busy to hang out with your cat all day. It kind of comes back to having only one pet (cat or dog) that you leave at home all day alone. It’s just kind of sad. Especially when you could get two and then they could at least entertain each other when they wanted to, as opposed to one pet just zoning out on nothing – unless they actually like to be completely alone. I just think about if we only had one cat and not two – but I’m just going on about nothing really because some pets, just like people, want to live alone.

 

But for the sociable ones, like our cats – being alone all the time would suck. Especially since our cats actually like each other (most of the time) and play and fight and sleep next to/on top of each other/with us. But what am I going on about? I don’t know, I’m just waiting for the laundry to finish.

 

Warm, golden chips + good salsa are a requirement for a good Mexican restaurant right? – even if we try to not eat them – when you get a bad set of chips or salsa before you meal, it just starts everything off on the wrong foot.

I know we mention some blog(gers) quite regularly, so I figure today I’ll mention our friend YogaGirl! She used to work hardkore in a lab and then she started teaching yoga/fitness part time and then she quit her lab job and became a master instructor of all things fitness-class. I ‘met’ her while she still lived in Houston and then she moved to Oregon a few years ago with her husband where they do A LOT of house remodeling – so much so that her blog is about half fitness and then half HGTV. Still. I’ve known her since back when I had a blog @ blog-city.com, and then through all of my different incarnations of MarkRoX. Fortunately, she’s relatively slow to update her links and she kept me listed during the months(years) where I would stop blogging and just kind of do nothing online or off. (Is there life offline?)

So. I’ve been in school for a while now (this round) and I’ve been thinking about the whole idea of pulling an ‘all-nighter’ and how, I haven’t done one of those this time around. I mean, sure I’ll stay up late to finish a paper, or the ‘participation posts’ (it’s online school – and um, well, it’s at least a degree) but I haven’t had to pull an all-nighter. I suppose that’s because I also don’t have real tests. They’re all take home. So there’s no need to really ‘study’ in the same manner. And even then, everything else? It’s just measuring the hit I’ll take (10 points off for each day late)  and how much I’d rather be sleeping – mostly when it gets past midnight, sleeping is worth more since I still have to go to work the next morning.

 

My Chimichanga (and I know, they don’t really have these things in Mexico – but thank god they do in the border states – because damn, a fried burrito? Genius.

I LOVE the fact that I finally bought a replacement laptop battery for my larger HP laptop – now it functions as a laptop again and I can take it places since the battery holds a charge now. Now if I could only get the USB ports repaired and actually connect things to it…

*-Bertos’ mexican food shacks are these things we have in Arizona where basically, you take some sort of small rundown food spot (often times in a strip mall) – add a window for people to walk up or drive up to and order – and just keep it open 24 hours day, serving the largest burritos possible and other magical mexican foods back in the hole of a kitchen that barely passes the health inspections – and the food is probably better for it. Of course, you don’t have to listen to us, remember we LOVE street food and everything that that entails (the mystery, the dirty, and the fact that many people won’t touch the stuff.) Oh, and they all have a naming convention of where, you can choose anything you want in front of the ‘Bertos part, but you MUST have the Bertos in the name. Some examples are FiliBertos, RigoBertos, JuanoBertos, MarkRoXBertos…

We have boxes, and now we’re fighting the urge to just let a Sunday afternoon slowly ease away like it should – without too much trouble or work… but we all know that’s not what we should  do. So. Like the list has been saying to us for the past week – Laundry, Packing, Cleaning, Packing, Homework, Packing.

 

Art Showing @ DressCodes in Decatur

Last Thursday after getting home and then taking a short nap on the floor, Leah woke me up so we could go to an art gallery showing @ Dresscodes, the clothing boutique owned/operated by our friends Karen & Brett. They have an art showing about every few months with a new artist each time. We haven’t been to one since the first one but this one definitely had many more people and it was a lot of fun to stop by, check things out, and catch up with the two of them. As usual, the clothes are fun to look through and they also have some cool accessories and hard to find jeans and um, other things I mentioned in the first post about them that night we had dinner together.

These are always nice ’cause like any art showing, they have free beer (or wine) and cheese and crackers! Okay. Sure, it doesn’t sound like much to get excited about, but Free is FREE! And I’m always in a good mood for free alright?

Karen is the one in Blue and Brett is over there with the polka dot hat on.

  

Afterwards, we went across the street and had some thai food @ Amaryn’s – it’s decent enough there with no real surprises, but it’s our default place lately when we don’t feel like thinking. Still, rarely do we get all out disappointed.

Just a few more days house sitting @ the big house. Good. Great.

Mi Barrio last night and Highland Bakery for breakfast today. The Good Food Never Stops Here.