In the past I use to go monthly treasure hunting for bargains galore and when I’m traveling I try to hit up at least one charity shop to find some hidden gems. My trip to Georgia was no different and The Drake House mission statement in providing shelter and education for women and children, it was a worthy cause to support.
I started my day at the Drake Closet Alpharetta location and when driving by I felt like I was going to someone’s house and upon entering it was as if I was shopping in someone’s closet. The set-up was very spacious and clean, with a purple and white color pallet. Most pre-loved garments shared the same sticker price, but some higher end designers were individually tagged in their boutique section ($20 starting price). Brands included mid-to-high designers including Banana Republic, J-Crew, Michael Kors, and Sherri Hill with prices ranging starting at $7 and most regular priced items falling around the $10 range.
The price-point is a tad-higher than what I have paid for in comparable charity shops, but the store presentation and variety of clothes made the experience fun and enjoyable. I had such a great experience that I visited two of their three locations.
26 Old Roswell St, Alpharetta, GA 30009
6030 Sandy Springs Cir, Sandy Springs, GA 30328
825 Mimosa Blvd, Roswell, GA 30075
Alpharetta had the biggest selection and Roswell branch didn’t distinguish the garments early as closely as Alpharetta. Overall, if you’re looking to diversify your closet or find something fabulous to wear for 2019 check out Drake’s before dishing out some serious dough at the mall.
I wear many Banana Republic garments, but I love Betsey Johnson pieces! What are some of your favorite fashion brands?
My friend and I were conversing with some Atlanta locals on their favorite restaurants and one gushed about Zunzi’s, a counter-served eatery highlighting South African inspired sandwiches. The concept seemed foreign to me, but with a Laotian restaurant standing as one of my top picks (Snack Boxe Bistro Post) in Atlanta , I was excited to see what Zunzi was all about.
While the sandwich shop highlights flavors from South Africa, the first brick-and-mortar location started in Savannah, Georgia (about 4 hours away). With an instant cult following, Zunzi branched out with a second location in Atlanta and I was informed that the masses have yet to discover the legendary sandwiches. On my visit, I was able to order within minutes of my arrival. Works for me!
There were 5 sandwich options and my friend and I decided to split one of their most popular one – “The Conquistador” with smashed avocado. To the eye this french bread and chicken sandwich seemed very ordinary, but the “Shit Yeah Sauce” was definitely anything but. It really heightens the sandwich experience and in many ways reminds me of Ike’s Place’s Dirty Secret Sauce. The combination of a slightly crunchy exterior and fluffy interior, with the creamy avocado, and tangy sauce gave so much dimension to the chicken and produce. Everything just worked so well together and my friend commented on how quiet I was during the entire meal. Lol
As of today there are two locations, but the manager of this location informed me that they’re planning to expand and potentially move out west. The establishment is the real deal, and if they open up a location close to work I probably would go here once a week, but you heard it here first!
I’m a huge DC Universe fan so shouldn’t be surprising that I’d be a Six Flags season pass holder. The new Justice League ride at the Magic Mountain location (post here) inspired me secure an annual pass, but one of the best perks is that I’m able to visit any of the Six Flags across America! I’ve never been to The Peach State and Six Flags Over Georgia sounded like a great destination!
Six Flags Over Georgia is located about 30 minutes outside of downtown Atlanta and during the week of my Georgia visit they had special evening hours. Unlike Magic Mountain where thrill seekers could enjoy the park during the morning hours – afternoon hours, Over Georgia had afternoon – evening hours (4pm-10pm). Unexpected, but with the holiday lights and decor it made for a festive evening.
While this Six Flags was much smaller (in terms square footage), the lines were much shorter and my friend and I were able to ride 7 thrill rides in about 3 hours. Dare Devil Dive is a one cart coaster that does one of the scariest drop (but man was it fun!), Superman: The Ultimate Flight is similar to Tatsu where you fly on your belly, and Twisted Cyclone – wow this was Uh-MA-ZING – hands down my favorite ride perhaps because I was expecting the drops to be so drastic, the car design was so deceptive! It didn’t look like it’d be a thrill ride.
Are you spending your holidays locally or traveling?
Comfort food is a category I know all to well. It’s when food makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and preps you for long cat nap, yet I’ve only had soul food a handful of times. Based on rave reviews I’ve visited both Fox Bros BBQ and Sweet Auburn BBQ and both were good, but it left me craving for more. On my visit to Mary Mac’s I was stuffed to the brim and extremely satisfied with experience from beginning to end.
Just down the street from the Fox Theater in the heart of Midtown this historic destination has been serving locals and celebrities alike for over 70 years. While parking can be a challenge it’s definitely an experience you wouldn’t want to miss when visiting. There are multiple dinning rooms in the building and guests are all presented with a sheet to write in our order. Since it was my first time my friend and I were given a sample of complimentary Pot Likker (a soup of boiled turnips). It was soothing, perfect for the chilly weather and the mini cinnamon rolls were so warm and fluffy. I had to stop myself from eating them all.
Mary Mac’s is known for their Fried Chicken and have won countless awards for it. Guests can order different quantities, but my friend and I opted for three legs since we both love dark meat. Each dish is accompanied by two sides. We ordered tomato pie, broccoli souffle, collard greens, and baked sweet potato – the former two were absolutely delicious.
The fried chicken legs were very moist and tender, but the skin could have been more crisp. However, the generous portions and affordable price-point, and southern hospitality makes me feel like I’m at a family gathering. There’s ample space and would be perfect to host large parties. In a lot of ways this reminds me of Mrs. Knotts Chicken Dinner, but with more Southern charm.
What part of fried chicken do you grab? Legs? Thighs? Breast? Wings?
Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree, how lovely are your branches… There’s nothing more magical than the moment when you trim a tree then light it up, yet the Macy’s 71st Annual Great Tree Lighting Ceremony they did that and so much more.
The evening tree lighting extravaganza had a fun filled program complete with special performances and two stages in the Macy’s parking lot. The annual event was hosted by anchors Jovita Moore and Zach Klein of Channel 2 WSB-TV and filmed live to kick-off the holidays!
There were many special performances from celebrity singers including Adrienne Bailon Houghton (previously Disney Cheetah Girl) and husband Israel Houghton, Francesca Battistelli (popular Christian singer), Russell Dickerson (handsome country superstar), and Kyla Jade (“The Voice” contestant on Team Blake). They sang holiday classics as well as music from their albums. Additionally the Macy’s All-Star Choir sang a few pieces and Santa also made a festive visit!
Once the stage performances commenced fireworks lit up the sky laying the perfect backdrop for the lighting of the Macy’s Christmas Tree. It was a magical evening and it really highlighted the joys of this wonderful season.
Alton Brown is one of my favorite celebrity chef’s so when he listed The Red Eyed Mule as one of favorite messy meals I wanted to check it out for myself. My friend and I visited several hot spots in Atlanta and Snack Boxe Bistro (blog post) was our #1 restaurant. Would Alton Brown’s pick knock-down our current champion? Would it even make the top 3?
The restaurant is located in Marietta a city about 20 miles outside of downtown Atlanta with morning/afternoon hours (6am-2pm daily). The brick exterior and humble interior resembled more of a local’s diner than a celebrity chef hang-out, and I was excited to try the coveted Jake’s Sloppy Slaw Burger.
The burger arrived and I was blown away by juicy patty made with a combination of coarse-ground chorizo and beef. The thick Texas toast was buttered and grilled to perfect – soft on the side with a beautiful char on the outside. The slaw and sauce gave the crunch and it was so saucy. I loved it!
Verdict: This was definitely the BEST thing I ever ate in Georgia and for $6.25, I’d glad re-arrange my plans to include this hidden gem in my plans.
Whats your favorite “Messy” item to eat and where do you get it?
Disney has been a big part of my life growing up so when I debuted my Violet Parr cosplay at San Diego Comic Con (SDCC post) this past summer, I was excited about all the upcoming Disney gathering and photo shoots since I’ve mainly done DC characters.
LACC seemed like forever ago (See Marvel post, and Street Fighter post), but a few photographers posted some shots of my Violet Parr cosplay and I was reached out by Kids Can Cosplay, a nonprofit organization to portray her in an upcoming holiday meet-and-greet event benefiting at-risk kids. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to blog about it since it’s a private event and I’d want to be sensitive about minors and their financial status, but we shall see if I can do the adult cosplayers!
I’ve always so impressed by the Disney cosplayers and the Princess group always seemed so much fun, so… for 2019 I’m going to debut a NEW Disney cosplay and it’s going to be a Disney Princess!! *gasp*
Can you guess which Disney princess I’m working on? I’ll give you a hint, she’s sassy and will have a live action movie coming up! Who’s your favorite Disney princess and why?
When I think of Georgia I think of peach pie, fried chicken, and any and all good Southern soul food. Gosh, even the amazing brunch at Hen Mother Cookhouse (Stomach Souvenirs Entry) in Alpharetta would fit the bill. Yet, it’s hard to imagine that Atlanta would be home to one of my favorite ethnic restaurants – Snack Boxe Bistro, a Laotian restaurant focused on street food and one of Atlanta’s newest hot, up and coming restaurant.
I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical about trying Laotian food from a restaurant that seemed so far away from the country, but after hearing so many rave reviews I thought I’d check it out myself. My friend and I ordered the following items.
Mok Pha ($8) Banana leaf wrapped steamed herb fish
Beef Laap ($10) Minced salad with rice powder, kaffir, galanga, chili herbs.
And the verdict…
The Mok Pha was super soft and just melted in your mouth and the Khao Poon, a last minute addition was one of my favorite dish of my Atlanta trip! The were so many different textures and taste profiles that made the soupy noodle dish so complex and delicious. It was a little spicy, a little sweet and all the ingredients just worked so harmoniously. You definitely want to order the Khao Poon if you want an explosion of flavors. I’d love to try the cuisine in the motherland.
Ti’s the Season! and The Shops Buckhead Atlanta made short of no expenses when kicking off their holiday festivities. Garlands and trees were trimmed and the floor was even decorated with Nutcracker artwork. Multiple shops also set up stations giving free seasonal treats including fresh pecan fudge, caramel apple, smores, and spiked cider for adults to enjoy. Patrons could also make their own gingerbread house and I had a blast decorating my little dog house. (It was only after I painted it that UGA chant that it’s “Go Dawgs”, as opposed to “Go dogs” – but I digress)
I attended the kick-off festivities on my recent Atlanta Adventure (Stomach Souvenirs Entry 1) and this weekend event featured both local and international guest entertainers. There were carolers who sang both classic and pop music acapella as well as an amazing violinist who played Top 40 songs with an electric flair. When sun-set talented dancers of the Atlanta Ballet 2 performed iconic pieces to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. The dance company dazzled the audience with their grace and flexibility all while balancing on their pointe shoes.
Hundreds of people from near and far enjoyed the festivities and throughout the month shoppers can enjoy ongoing weekend activities from 1:00pm – 5:00pm every Saturday until December 15 while shopping for loved ones or for yourself.
Brunch is one of those iconic meals to share with family and friends, so I picked Mother Hen Cookhouse after some extensive research to meet up one of of grad school girlfriends. She was very excited and informed me that though this restaurant had just opened up earlier this year and that it’s quickly become an Alpharetta staple. I did breakfast everyday that I was in Georgia, and this was by far my favorite brunch spot!
The homey restaurant evoked a sweet county kitchen feel and I loved the coziness of the space. After deep contemplation on what to eat we decided on the following:
Market Hash & Two Eggs ($13): I love has and the presentation of this was different but absolutely delicious. I always order mine with two sunnyside up eggs and this picture perfect dish encapsulated the perfect savory dish. I would eat this everyday if I could It had the crunch, the creaminess, and the ooey gooey egg yolk just running through it all. Yum!
Baked Brioche French Toast ($10): You had me at Brioche! and while I don’t typically do sweet for breakfast my friend and I shared and demolished it. The poached peaches, with the whipped custard and pure Vermont maple syrup over the fluffy bread was perfect and now I understand why this item was a crowd favorite.
Fluffy egg white & veggie omelet ($11.95): I found out that my friend didn’t eat red meat and that the four times she’s been here she always orders this. Must be a solid staple.
My friend and I had a wonderful time catching up and sharing stories on our lives. The venue for our 8 year reunion couldn’t have been more picture perfect and I’m glad that we got to share a delicious meal to commemorate it. I’ll definitely be back and eager to try all their other offerings.