Instant Grat Instagram: Catching up

I warned you that I had a new topic I would pull out whenever the writing genes wouldn’t zip up all the way.

I call it Instant Grat Instagram. {Lamely} bringing you my favorite moments from what is currently my favorite social media platform in a more or less thematic effort. 

Hope you enjoy!

This week: Catching up – some recent memories brought to you courtesy of my occasionally trusty phone.

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A crazy-beautiful sunset at work.

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My baby orchid ($10 at Trader Joes!) is kicking out some gorgeous blooms! Second round since I bought it back in November.  Hmmm. Maybe I am the orchid whisperer.

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The debilitating dusting of Snow that shut down Atlanta last Friday.  I had a highly enjoyable half-day off work hanging out with the hubs.  No complaints. 🙂

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Sunday brunch with my bestie at Venkmans.  Live jazz, bottomless mimosas and finally a chance to get up to speed with all that’s been going on with each other – I haven’t seen her since November!

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Monday night’s Taste of India Dinner at Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party. This is a monthly event to raise money for their non-profit, The Learning Tea, that provides homes and college scholarships for young women in India.

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As always, Taste of India was an awesome evening of great people and delicious food and an opportunity to hang out with another close friend that I haven’t seen in a bit, Dana.

It’s been a fun and fabulous last few days and a wonderful chance to catch up not just with dear friends, but now with you guys as well.

Once again, made instantly grateful just by looking at the ol’ Instagram. I find it a very helpful attitude adjuster, especially as I’m facing Wednesday morning.

::aarrghh, Wednesday::

Wishing you a happy and picture perfect week!

 

Lit Up

This year I was finally able to participate in the Atlanta Beltline Lantern Parade.  I’ve been dying be in it for the last couple of years, but we were always out of town.

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“Cool,” you say. “So what is the Atlanta Beltline?”

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Graffiti art on one of the tunnels

To ‘splain a little more, about five years ago, the City of Atlanta took over a series of paths and old railway lines more-or-less encircling the city, and turned it into a paved walking/biking/skating trail and greenspace called the Atlanta Beltline.

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Walking home from Inman Park down the Beltline.

It’s very practical as it provides a safe path to walk from my loft over to the little neighborhood of bars and restaurants in Inman Park.

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It’s very fabulous in that it’s studded with outdoor art installations, musicians throwing down impromptu concerts, fortune tellers, trail-side community yoga classes, and a fun, vital horde of 20 through 50-somethings running, walking, skating and biking in a giant festive Mardis Gras of humanity nearly every evening (complete with a lovely assortment of dogs, btw: from tiny puppies in purses to giant Irish Wolfhounds towing kids on skateboards.)

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Mini concert from two very gifted musicians hanging out on the Beltline

“Er, well, that’s nice, but what about this Lantern Parade?” you continue.

The Lantern Parade is hosted the first Saturday after Labor Day each year by the Krewe of Grateful Gluttons, and kicks off a two month Art on the Beltline program that runs through November.

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Almost 30,000 people showed up for this year’s parade.  Lanterns of every style and color danced from wires and poles clutched by costumed revelers; who walked, jogged, skipped and danced to the accompanying “alternative” marching bands.

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I went with a bunch of friends as the (unofficial) Krewe of the Sultry Sirens.

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We chose an “under the sea” theme, complete with mermaids, a giant crab, a ambiguous character based on Pirates of the Caribbean, some jellyfish lanterns and lots of glowing neon and sparkles.

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It was about a 2-mile route, following the Beltline from Krog Street Market off of Irwin Street all the way over to Piedmont Park in Midtown.

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“And did you have fun,” you ask, smiling as if you already know the answer.

I had a stinkin’ blast.

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Come on, Costumes!  Costumes covered in twinkly lights! Day-glow Lanterns! Friends!  Sparkly stuff!  Music!  Dancing!  Drinks after at the Highlander!

Hog Heaven.

We were well and truly lit.

Faith means living with uncertainty – feeling your way through life, letting your heart guide you like a lantern in the dark.
– Dan Millman

“I’m sorry…what kind of Swap?!”

This past Saturday was National Soup Swap Day. Okay, so maybe it’s not a universally recognized holiday, but in my mind, certainly a legitimate excuse for a party. I try to set that bar fairly low.

First, please allow me to apologize for the lack of posts over the last three months. Lots of stuff happened, but most importantly, David and I got engaged! Woo hoo! Don’t worry that you missed out on any fun deets (were you to worry, that is) since that’s a different post altogether. Maybe two or three different posts.   However my blogging skills have gotten a little rusty, so let me warm up first with something easy (like oh-say, a blog about soup) so I don’t pull a mental groin muscle.

Anyhow, since we’re saving up for a big wedding next January, I’ve been on a mission to find cool, fun things for entertainment that are easy on the pocketbook. I ran across a mention for National Soup Swap day and was delighted to find out that it was coming up in mid-January. Perfect timing for a party!  Soup Swap is much like the cookie swaps a lot of people do around the holidays in December, but with soup, d’uh.  Here’s the premise: Get at least six friends to commit to making seven quarts of soup. They need to bring six quarts of frozen soup and one quart warm. Everyone samples the warm soups to find their favorites, then they swap out their frozen soups and take home a variety to stock their freezers! What an awesome idea! Who doesn’t like soup!

Hey, Y'all - let's swap some soup!

As it turns out, David doesn’t like soup.

Oops.

By the time I found this out, I had already made a Facebook Invite and sent it to about 80 people.

Oh well, he’s always very supportive and he does like salad,

 

which goes so nicely with soup.

In the end, we had about 10 people show up for our first Soup-alooza.  I scheduled it to run from noon until two, since I figured Saturdays were pretty busy for most people, so this could be a quick, casual lunchtime affair. A couple of friends were bringing homemade breads, I whipped up a couple of salads, and David produced a couple of bottles of sparkling wine in the off-chance anyone wanted a mimosa.

Turns out everyone wanted a mimosa.

O.K., I truly wasn’t expecting that! I figured people would just “work” this in to their busy day, swap some soup, and then go about their business.  My innocent little soup swap, fueled by sparkling wine and OJ, quickly combusted into a full-on par-tay.  It was such an awesome group of people, and everyone made such unique and delicious soups!

Carrie and Craig brought a fabulous minestrone and an even more spectacular story about coming to an abrupt stop on their drive over and losing their entire pot of hot soup all over the back seat.

Dana and Troy's "Iguana" Foie Gras Bisque

Dana and Troy probably stole the show with their Iquana Foie Gras Bisque (which was actually made with chicken) and as befitting their oh-so-stylish natures, was cleverly packaged in Mason jars wrapped in cute little dish cloths liberated from the Hotel de L’Europe, wrapped with rafia and labeled with custom “House of Dragon” tags!

Randall and Ann (the only other couple besides us I know with stones enough to sport a celebrity couple name: we’re KAVID, they’re ANNDALL) brought an amazing ham and white bean chowder, along with some honey from their very own intown bee hives (now that’s a hobby!)

Hil brought pasta e fagiole  (now that’s AMORE!) and Carol contributed a Vegan Curried Carrot and some delicious, freshly-baked country bread.

Carol's Country Bread

 
My pièce de résistance? A curried coconut lentil and split pea, which I am proud to say, was extremely noms.  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 We had so much fun hanging out and getting to know each other (or in my case – catching up, since I invited everyone).  

Eventually, we broke into the wine.  Surely,  none of you are surprised.

Sooner or later, we got around to talking about the purpose of our little soiree – the soup. Everyone gave a brief story about their concoction and shared their recipe and then we chilled out, eating and drinking until late afternoon. I think the last guest left around 7, maybe? Ha. So much for squeezing it into the day.

All in all, I would say a very successful Soup Swap!

Many thanks to all my friends who came to Soup-alooza, to the wonderful and inspiring people at the National Soup Swap Day website and of course, most of all to my wonderful fiance; David, for hosting with me and for taking such awesome pictures!  (Note to Linda, David’s Mom: He actually ate – and admitted to enjoying – several of the soups. )

Soup-alooza 2012!

A kitchen full of friends!

Randall shares his soup with everyone

Craig, Randall and Hil

Randall's White Bean and Ham Chowder with Fresh Cornbread

Dana and Troy

KAVID, your Soup-alooza Hosts!