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 🙂

Seven Miles + Super Bowl Sunday

Happy weekend!

As part of my half-marathon training, I ran seven miles today. This was my longest run in over a year, and oh my gosh, I did NOT feel up to it. I usual do three or four runs a week, but today somehow ended up being my fifth run in seven days. I woke up cranky and had zero motivation. Plus I’m really sore from all the running and a hard workout on Thursday.

But, no excuses! We drove to Midtown so we could check out the Eastside trail of the Atlanta BeltLine. If you’re ever in Atlanta, you MUST go to the BeltLine. It is such a unique addition to the city and it has totally changed the access to our awesome intown neighborhoods. My husband and I are making an effort to do our long runs in places that are more interesting than our usual route near our house. Getting a chance to people-watch and house-lust makes the run go by so much easier 🙂

I was angry because my headphones stopped working so I couldn’t listen to my new Audible download. However, it ended up being for the best, since I was totally distracted by my surroundings. And the run was actually really good. Like one of the best long runs I’ve ever had. Not my pace or anything, just my mental state and my willpower. I was in a little bit of pain for the whole run, but it was totally manageable. I’m so glad I didn’t give in to my sour mood.

Part of my motivation was knowing what we were getting for lunch afterwards. Panini! I completely inhaled my sandwich after we got home, guilt-free. Now I’m trying to relax a little before I go to my sister’s to babysit my niece and nephew.

I’m excited for tomorrow! The Super Bowl will be fun, but mostly I’m looking forward to NACHOS. And tequila 🙂 We’ll be doing something like this, along with something like this and this dang gluten-free beer we can’t seem to get rid of. I don’t have a dog in the fight at all, but I’m hoping it will be a good match-up and a much better game than last year. I’ve also managed to avoid all of the commercials so far, so I’ll be surprised when they actually air.

How’s your weekend going? Who’s got the best Super Bowl plans ever???

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!

I will turn 40 this year.

With this in mind, I would like to put some of my 2015 goals out there:

1. Learn to do a handstand.

2. Pay off our credit card debt, and the personal loans as well. Bonus points for paying off my car. This will involve being frugal instead of buying pretty much everything we’ve wanted and taking lots of vacations, which we did in 2014.  I do want to be careful to allow ourselves some degree of spending without guilt. Last year we were incredibly frugal January through March, but the restriction then resulted in us kind of losing our minds the rest of the year.

3. Be less anal. I am unfortunately becoming obsessive about details, causing me to miss out on some of the fun of actually doing. We just spent a week at the beach with our families. It was our Christmas gift to them. I spent the first half of the trip worrying about everything that was wrong and not as perfect as I’d imagined, and the second half of the trip regretting being so anxious about the imperfections. I don’t know how I will go about chilling out, so more to come on that.

4. Run a half marathon

5. Downsize. This will involve selling our lovely 2400 square foot townhouse for a much smaller (and cheaper!) condo, along with a LOT of the stuff that occupies said townhouse.

6. Meditate. The Headspace app has been recommended to me, so I will be giving it a try.

7. Drink less. Yes, the name of this blog is Gin is my Comfort Food, and it really is. I know I am self-medicating to some degree with booze. I need to find a healthy mix so I can enjoy a glass of wine or a couple of cocktails,rather than drinking excessively. I’ve also noticed that when I go from totally abstaining to drinking again, I tend to overdo it, so I’d really like to work on the happy medium.

I’d like to pause here and point out that I am noticing a theme here: Balance, both literal (handstand) and figurative (improving my mental/fiscal/physical health).

8. Go to counseling with my husband. Overall, we are very lucky to still be madly in love after 14 years together, but we’ve been having some of the same fights for the majority of those 14 years, and they are wearing us down. I know we’d each benefit greatly by learning to understand each other better.

9. Write. Remember to keep something with me at all times to jot down ideas. Especially when I’m running. I would like this blog to be fun and useful for me to write.

10. Continue to evolve my relationship with food. Man, do I like food. I LOVE to eat. For the most part I keep it in check, but again, like with drinking, when I am very restrictive, I go into binge-mode once the restrictions have been lifted. Lately, I haven’t really cut out anything from my diet, and I’ve been good about running and going to the gym, and I’ve definitely been happy with the results. I do feel guilty about all the meat I’ve been eating, and with the holidays, I consumed much more sugar that I’d like. I am going into the New Year with my diet still a work-in-progress. We want to focus first on eating what we already have, as part of spending less so we can pay down our debt.

11. Try some minimalism projects. I love the idea of these! But just thinking about them makes me nervous, which is probably a sign I need to give them a shot. Luckily, I think some of my other goals with naturally lead into a minimalist ideal: downsizing, not buying new clothes, eating what we have, focusing more on exercising, etc.


I was going to have either 10 or 12 goals, because 10 is a nice round even number, and 12 matches the months of the year. But instead, I will leave this list at a sort-of-uncomfortable 11, because progress (see #3).