Project Downsize: Condo Shopping & Garage Clean-out

Yesterday was really fun and productive! I might be a wee bit hungover this morning, but it’s guilt-free since I still got all my work done 🙂

We started the day with a 10k run. This is the last long-ish run before next Saturday’s half-marathon. It was a pretty good run, and the longest distance I’ve done since my latest bout of cold/flu/food poisoning/immune system crash. I’m still totally freaked out about the race next week, but whatcha gonna do…

We ran through the part of town we’re most interested in moving to, and drove around to look at a couple of specific neighborhoods afterwards. It was a perfect spring day in Atlanta, and there were so many people out walking their dogs, exercising, and heading to the local farmers’ market. This is one of Atlanta’s few foot-friendly areas, and seeing everyone out and about made me excited to possibly live there. One dilemma we’re having is whether we’d want to do a high-rise condo or a small townhouse. I love the idea of the high-rise, but I’m pretty sure I would be miserable trying to take our three dogs up and down in the elevator twice a day. The townhouses are older and not the best-looking, but it would be much easier with the dogs, and they have little private backyard/patio areas. We could maybe get a hot tub!

After our run, we had mani/pedis and took a long nap. Then we tackled the garage. This was the big pile o’ stuff we were facing:


We had to decide what we wanted to try to sell on Craigslist and some of Jack’s hobby sites, what was trash/Goodwill, and what we’d save for next month’s garage sale. We only spent about an hour on this and accomplished a ton. This is the Craigslist pile, lots of home decor and small electronics/appliances:


And this is what we’ve got left for the garage sale:


Not pictured is our patio furniture, which we’ll hopefully be able to unload on Craigslist as well.

After the garage project, we got cleaned up and met some friends out for dinner. The food was disappointing, but I did have this drink:

20150411_190526A green cocktail! Freshly-juiced cucumber, basil, lime and vodka. Getting my vitamins along with a buzz 😉

Advice time: Have you ever lived in a highrise? Did you miss your privacy?


Cocktail: Warm Soul

Last night, Jack and I went to a newish restaurant in town, Cooks & Soldiers. My husband is trying to bring them onboard, so our night out was sponsored by his expense account. Bonus! The space was freaking gorgeous. I pretty much want to live there. West Midtown is such an exciting neighborhood these days; there is so much growth!

The food was sadly underwhelming and way overpriced, but I’m not here to review them. I just want to talk about drinks!

I tried txakoli for the first time. According to Wikipedia, it’s a “slightly sparkling, very dry white wine with high acidity and low alcohol content produced in the Spanish provinces of the Basque Country, Cantabria and northern Burgos.” It was kind of my dream white wine. Definitely something I’ll be drinking this summer. Atlanta is in the midst of some intolerably cold weather (for us, yes, but I don’t want to hear about how lame Southerners are about the winter because it’s not like it’s something we have to deal with more than once every few years!), so after one glass of wine, I switched to whiskey.

This is where the Warm Soul comes in, made with whiskey, house ginger beer, basil, and aged balsalmic vinegar. Perfect for staying toasty at the bar, delaying the 15 degree hike back to our car. Jack had The Vendor: whiskey, simple, amontillado sherry, house ginger beer. Neither were something I wanted more than one of, which was great since I didn’t need to drink much last night. It was so nice to be out during the week, sharing some time together at a bustling bar. I miss that! It’s not part of our drink-less-save-money plan though, so I’m grateful for that expense account 🙂

Happy Hour: Grapefruit & Thyme Sparklers

As inspired by Quitokeeto.

On Saturday, I ran six miles, without walking, for the first time in over a year. I’m halfway to that half marathon already, haha.

To celebrate, I bought a bottle of Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin. We had a ton of citrus fruit and some fresh thyme in the fridge, so I searched for a recipe that might work. I love Heidi Swanson and have learned so much from her 101 Cookbooks blog. Quitokeeto is another of her projects, so I figured I’d love her drink recipe.

gin drink

I made her thyme simple syrup as instructed, but in a smaller batch. It took all of 10 minutes. Instead of just straight lemon juice, I used a combination of fresh-squeezed grapefruit, lemon and lime. When mixing the drinks, I used a bit more gin than her recipe, and a bit less simple syrup so it wouldn’t be too sweet. Finally, I used club soda, not tonic water, so the gin would really shine through.

The result was fantastic. This might sound like a summery drink, and it’s very refreshing, but the combination of the herbal gin, savory thyme, and bright grapefruit was perfect for a brisk January afternoon.

gin drink 2

Grapefruit & Thyme Sparklers (Inspired by Quitokeeto)

For the thyme simple syrup

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of raw sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of minced fresh thyme

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Let boil until half the water is gone, about 10 minutes. Let cool while you juice your citrus fruit. Strain into a jar so you won’t have bits of thyme in your teeth.

For the cocktails

  • Juice of one lemon
  • Juice of one lime
  • Juice of one grapefruit
  • Herbal gin
  • Thyme simple syrup
  • Ice & club soda

In a lowball glass (these are fun!), combine one shot of your herbal gin, one shot of grapefruit juice, one half shot each of lemon and lime juice, and one teaspoon of thyme syrup. Mix gently, then add ice to your liking. Top off with club soda. Feel fancy and enjoy!