Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Eating our Way Across Atlanta- Restaurants where we overate

"We're going to Atlanta for a few days?"

"Why? Do you know someone there?"

"Probably. But no, we are just going." 

"Is there a concert?"

"Nah. We are just getting away for a couple days becase we both have time off." 

Why do people think it's so weird to go to a place with zero motivating factors other then you want to relax and explore in an environment where there is an increased liklihood you will cross paths with someone from the Real Housewives? OK. To be fair this was more my rational in choosing Atlanta for a last minute road trip destination; [Tangent: The pull of a possible run in with Phaedra Parks was too great. Spoiler: I did not run into her, but I am 87% sure that Kim Zolciak-Biermann's father referred to me as a "gentleman" when I let him enter a doorway in front of me at a store. And we had a much cooler sighting that I will discuss later.] however, we  are both fat kids in small bodies, we wanted to cram our face holes with as much good food as humanly possible. 

Because we lucked out with our AirBnb in the Old Fourth Ward area,  we were super close to everything we wanted to get into. [Tangent: Seriously, If you are going to ATL, I highly recommend staying at this place. Our hosts were the nicest possible humans, and the place was functional and super cute. I feel like I like to stay at aspirational places, where I can pretend for a minute that I live in a tidy and chic space. My home will likely never be spotlessly lean and feature Keith Haring wallpaper...but for a couple days I can pretend. Because for me travel arrangements can be a crap shoot, I was pleased that this place was actually mostly wheelchair-friendly. While doing the seach for a place to stay, I had looked into a loft that was listed as "accessible" but the bed was up on a raised platform up a flight of stairs. FAILURE!] I had asked a bunch of people on FB beforehand and hit up our hosts for insights before setting out to go on our food quests. Unfortunately, we both felt like hell multiple days and wanted nothing more than to lay on the couch and watch Purple Rain, so we didn't get to eat as much as we had hoped...but here were some of our favorites:

King of Pops: 
After stalking their cart through the streets of Bristol a few years ago at Rhythm and Roots, I have been a fan. I know Nashville has recently been getting carts, but I have yet to see them. Anyway, since they originated in Atlanta, I thought they seemed the perfect thing to curb the heat.  I needed to hydrate and a sweet tea and lemonade flavored $3 pop seemed preferable to a bottle of boring water. Their walk-up window is in a little neighborhood , which reminded me a lot of Nashville's 12South, and is located adjacent to a their stream of foot traffic is steady.

Noni's Bar and Deli:
We kind of lucked out with this one because our sweet Airbnb host also owned this restaurant and it was less than a block from where we were staying. Convenience aside, it was just really damn good. They specialize in traditional Italian pastas, sandwiches etc. We each had a giant bowl of pasta (The panchetta cream was DELIGHTFUL!), Parmesan fries and delicious cocktails. [Tangent: Cream sauce + cocktails + sun = midday naps for all!] Jamie of course, fulfilled his expectation of getting the most feminine beverage on the menu. I stuck to the Brooks, which is potent and refreshing at the same time. It's also doggie friendly, which is great for a lady like me who is down with OPP [Tangent: Other People's sickos.]. Prices were reasonable, which I found surprising for the quality. They could seriously be charging twice the price, but I am glad they weren't. When we got home, we stalked their yelp and saw that they really pop off post midnight. Maybe next time we go, we will check out the dance parties. I was bummed that they were doing a Prince tribute our last night in town, but we didn't know about it until we were already pooped on the couch and watching Purple Rain. 
Savage Pizza:
 This was really Jamie's only must because it is his traditional stop before going to shows in Atlanta. It has been much hyped to me by the pizza-loving ginger. The pizza was  yummy and similar in flavor to Pie in the Sky, and  I liked that you could personalize your pie with lots of six different sauce options. [Tangent: I love having a crap ton of choices!] Probably the best parts of the dining experience were their proximity to Atlanta's Little Five Points (which has a similar vibe to Nashville's Five Points) and the fact that I could eat my dinner under an army of suspended action figures. Example: I ate my chicken florentine personal pizza under a Bee-Bop and Rocksteady.

 Sublime Doughnuts:
I am very glad I woke up one morning craving a donut and decided to google "best doughnut in Atlanta" or else I would never have tasted the glory of having a sublime orange dream star bursting all over my taste buds. Note my look of euphoria above. So. DAMN. GOOD. This place is incredibly unassuming as it is in a strip mall by Georgia Tech. Not fancy and not expensive...thus pretty much being perfect for me. [Tangent: My mother craved nothing but Dunkin Donuts while pregnant with me, so I am guessing that has some carryover into my current adult addiction.] We loved this place so much that we got a dozen on the way out of town to bring home with us. 

 The Vortex 
If a place has a skull as an entryway, of course we are going to eat there. We had both heard lots of good things about The Vortex in Little Five Points and they claim ownership on "Atlanta's Best Burger" so it was a gimme. Even though they have a crazy long beer list, we both drank mules  (mine with vodka...his with whiskey) and ate food bigger than our faces. Although I'm bummed we didn't get their famed "Coronary Bypass" (a cheeseburger with grilled cheese sandwiches in lieu of buns), we both had happy tummies when we left. I had some kind of concoction topped with blue cheese spread, mushrooms and bacon aka all the things I hold dear. Jamie got the "Fat Elvis" which had peanut butter, plantains and bacon on it. Both were big hits!

What did we miss out on? 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

I'm Gonna be a Supermodel: The Fashion is for Every Body Fashion Show

AGH! I am really excited to finally be able to share a little bit of insider dish about this really cool thing I get to be a part of! Is that vague? Yep. Sorry. Here goes...

As I have mentioned many a time, blogging has brought many cool people and opportunities into my life, and one of them is my friendship with Alicia Searcy aka the lady that is Spashionista. Unlike me, [...who is currently rocking a dress from the Target little girls department that I have convinced myself is "mature enough" even though it has pom pom trim], Alicia is extremely into the Nashville Fashion scene, Nashville Fashion Week and the Nashville Fashion Alliance. So no duh, she is fashionable. While attending her vow renewal last year, Alicia (ever the networker) asked me if I wanted to model in/help out with a fashion show that she was dreaming up. The concept was that the models would have a variety of disabilities as well as body types and cover a broad spectrum of ages to prove that everyone has the right to awesome style. It is titled, Fashion is for Every Body.

 Of course, I had the initial flutter of a thought that a disability fashion show could easily skew corny and come off extremely hokey, but I knew Alicia wouldn't let that happen. [Tangent: When anything with disabilities is ever done, I always get ultra protective. I want it to empower and not be the makings of Chicken Soup for the Soul. I want people to say "of course!" and not "awww!" Does that make sense?] My friend, the Spashionista, is the perfect person to champion this project and make people take notice and take it seriously! I  mean IT'S DAVID BOWIE THEMED, FOR GOD'S SAKE!!  Watch and learn:

There are also some legit local designers on board: Catland Forever Couture, Amanda ValentineEric Adler. Also models, like me, will be rocking clothing from Pura Vida Vintage and Opium Vintage. AndrĂ©s Bustamante is presenting is debut collection alongside my friend, John Thielman, who will also be showing for the first time. I sincerely cannot wait to wear all the pretty clothes and use all the knowledge I have gleaned from years of watching Top Model and the like.[Tangent: Reality TV wasn't rotting my was teaching me to SMIZE!] 
 The event is set for September 10th, and of course I will be giving updates when the event gets closer. For the moment, we are working to raise the needed funds to make sure it is taken seriously in this space. It is our hope that this will resonate with those in the fashion world and make our presence known! In order to make it possible, there is an indiegogo set up, were you can throw a few dollars or get your advance tickets! [Tangent: I hope you'll be there or at least spread the word! I could you miss an opportunity to see me make an ass of myself?]

Get excited.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Netflix (and Amazon) Hits & Misses Vol 17: March/April 2016

Maybe it's because I decided to binge on Netfix's Love and watch every season of Curb Your Enthusiasm last month...or maybe it's because the pickins are getting slimmer in my unwatched docs queue, but I didn't watch as many documentaries on Netflix as usual in March...therefore my reviews definitely carried over into April. I would just say, "Screw it!" but truthfully, I need things to keep me consistent and these reviews are the things people seem to get the most excited about. I love hearing that people bookmark the posts for their next seemingly endless browse session.

How To Survive a Plague (Netflix)- B
Let's start off with discussing the most heavy thing imaginable: the AIDS crisis in the early 80s. As expected this movie, comprised mostly of actual footage from that time period, is a lot to take it.  I was turned on to its existence by one of my favorite podcasts, Throwing Shade, and I figured since I was just a toddler in that era, an educational refresher was likely in order. Sadly, to be honest, my knowledge of the fight for proper healthcare among people living with AIDS in the early years is based almost wholely on Dallas Buyers Club. The themes and content were very interesting and upsetting, but I did zone out a couple times due to the presentation. [Tangent: Similar happens to me when I watch the history channel sometimes.] Even so, I still think it is worth watching especially if you are not well versed in the early gay rights movement or about the outbreak of AIDS in the US.  It is a must watch for those that are ignorant (like me) about all that the era entailed in regards to this disease.

Brave Miss World (Netflix)- B
Now to a much lighter topic- cases of rape injustice on a worldwide level. Just kidding...not at all lighter...equally upsetting, but still eye-opening and worth exploring. The stunning subject of this film is former Miss Israel (and then Miss World) who was raped as an adult, and then went on a global crusade to whistle blow situations where accusers were being swept under the rug. Some of the stories are BRUTAL and will make you wince, but they deserve to be heard. This one had been sitting in my queue for a long time and I'm really glad I finally gave it a watch. Unfortunately, this month I also watched The Hunting Ground (see below), which featured some of the same themes and it's really hard for me not to compare the two. I watched the other first, so I think that's why I didn't give Brave Miss World a higher score.

Crafted (Amazon Prime Streaming) - B
I chose this movie for two was by Morgan Spurlock [Tangent: He made everyone scared of Big Macs in Super Size Me and created docu-series 30 Days...I also wrote about his doc Mansome in this post.] and it was about 30 minutes, which is a good length when I am feeling non-committal. Since I know a lot of crafters for hire and small business owners, I was a little more invested in this than some might be. The whole thing had a very "made for instagram" vibe as if the whole movie was shot through the crema filter,  but it seemed to make sense given the etsy-centric subject matter. It lacked a lot of the humor that you come to expect from Spurlock docs, but it also featured a profile on artisan knife-makers, so you can't have it all!

Autism in Love (Netflix)- A
April is autism awareness month, so it seems Netflix has several to choose from. [Tangent: It was a toss-up for me between this one and The United States of Autism, which I will likely get to next month. ] I really liked this doc a lot. It is sad and happy at the same time, and really gives you a glimpse inside people on the spectrum and their struggles with emotion and connection to others romantically. Because I work for a disability organization, I, of course, view it through that lens and can be a little critical in some areas. Example: Although the cover a spectrum of cases, they are all fairly high functioning and independent for the most part. They may not drive or live with a parent, but the majority hold jobs. [Tangent: In docs and reality programming, its pretty common for those profiled to be of higher ability levels. Some with autism are non-verbal or have additional behavioral issues. Dual diagnoses are very common.]  I really liked it and think if you love a disability love story like Monica and David, which I reviewed here, then you will like this. Also, you're gonna fall in love with the people in the doc. I am obsessed with Leonard's mom and couldn't stop staring at her large heat miser tattoo.

The Barkley Marathons (Netflix)- A
Oh. Dear. God. This one is a doozie. Generally a documentary about an outdoor endurance test wouldn't appeal to me at all, but it features my home state and lovable kooks, so I was on board immediately. [Tangent: Plus my friend Rae gave it her thumbs up, so I knew I was in for a good time..and not just your average sports doc.] To preface, I don't even like to go out to my car if it's raining outside, so I cannot fathom why someone would like to do a non-stop all-weather 100 mile race through rough terrain. The race itself is bananas and a complete fever dream, which is exactly what you would expect from two dudes named Lazarus Lake and Raw Dog...probably not his Christian Name.  These men, who my dad would've referred to as "characters," are the ones who conceived of the bat shit human sacrifice known as The Barkley Marathons. I think you'll like it.

Plastic Galaxy (Amazon Prime Streaming)-C
My boyfriend loves a good toy and amassed an impressive Star Wars collection as any boy would in the early 80s and I love docs about obsessive this movie, found on Amazon streaming, seemed like a safe bet for entertainment we could agree on.  On a whole, I dug it. There were parts, as a very casual Star Wars fan (as in hasn't even seen all the movies) that I didn't care about, but I enjoyed the story of how these toys were kind of the unlikely beginning to crazy movie merchandising. It was interested to see how many companies passed on the rights. Again, I think if I actually played with these toys as a kid, I might have been more into it. [Tangent: My brothers did have the death star and all its inhabitants, but I was off having my barbies and his WWF figures kissing and putting on productions of Cinderella to be bothered.]

Finding Vivian Maier (Netflix)- A+
I love this movie. I love anything that is a big of an unraveling mystery. The movie profiles a young man who bought a Storage Wars style lot at an auction, which included boxes and boxes of undeveloped film and slides from an unknown photographer, Vivian Maier. In development, he found her art to be ahead of its time, but could find nothing about the enigmatic woman behind the camera. Through this documentary, he is working to uncover who she is/was through travel, research and mostly interview. It was so perfect that I almost wondered if it was a setup, as I do with most things that are too good to be true. I now am following Vivian Maier on Facebook and want to go see her work in a gallery.

The Hunting Ground (Netflix)- A+
Like a lot of folks, I became acquainted with this doc after crying disgusting amounts of saline during Lady Gaga's performance at the 2016 Oscars of "Til It Happens to You." My major mistake was watching this movie when I was going to sleep, because it took me 6 days to watch it in segments (and likely caused me to have some awful dreams), but I stuck it out and I'm glad I did. The movie, about the rape culture on college campuses will piss you off. It definitely is well put together and hopefully will make some waves in universities so that they will be pushed for change. It was great to see many of these women (and men) find strength after being ignored by administration. The sheer volume of stories that all end in a faculty member victim blaming them was astounding!!  

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Ravishly, Surgery and bad Adele Parody

Hello. It's me. Remember what a consistent blogger I used to be?  [Tangent: That was kind of an unintentional Adele parody. Remember when those were a thing a circa late 2015. Oh, those were simpler times.]  Terrible pop culture references aside, I have been a little busy lately and promise that I will be a bit better later. In my absence not only has some site with the term "Arab lesbian" in its URL been linking to me [Tangent: What? WHY!?], but I have been freelancing up a storm so that I can pepper all corners of the Internet with my ramblings. Manifest destiny, bitches! In case you didn't see the links posted on my Facebook, here's: 
I probably didn't make these posts too appealing, but I am actually oddly proud of myself. Who would have thunk I was an advertising major? [Tangent: And by my use of the word thunk that it was in the college of journalism.] Trust me, someone clearly approved them, so they must be decent...the garbage that you read on here is 100% filterless. 

I'm really excited to be writing here and there for The Ravishly. Earlier this month, I finally met in real life, my long lost internet writer girl crush, Winona, and she encouraged me to pitch them some stories. [Tangent: Go read her blog, The Sky I'm Under. She's bad ass and the insightful lady I dream of being.]  The Ravishly recently ran a story about super delegates called Is Ted Cruz Actually Just a Sackful of Lizards?  so I am definitely in the right realm. 

The other reason I have been MIA is because my mom had back surgery last week and my family has been in town so I barely have had the sense to pee or eat...much less write coherently. She's getting around much better now though so it's time for me to play catch up. I EVEN WATCHED A BUNCH OF DOCUMENTARIES THIS if that's your thing- get pumped. [Tangent: Maybe this means I will have more to write about than the inordinate binging I did on Little Women LA, a show that is exactly as terrible as a show as you would assume.] So that what's up with that...what's up with you?

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