o-h-i-o, ohio!

this past thursday morning i boarded an md-88 with several coworkers to fly to columbus, ohio for our annual company meeting.  between team gatherings, putt-putt golf, and drinks at brazenhead, the event was quite the success in melding many offices together as a united front for the successful business years ahead for which we are striving.  go team!

most folks flew back to atlanta friday night, but i had the wonderful pleasure of staying the whole weekend.  as it would be, phillip has family only minutes from our dublin location – such a small world!  so, it was a no-brainer for phillip to take some time off work and join me.

once work things wrapped up friday afternoon, phillip picked me up and we checked into the local embassy suites.  we rested our feet for a little bit and then were in the car again.  where to?  well, seeing as how our stomachs were grumbling, it was a good thing we were headed to dinner with grandma lorraine and cousin tony at the local favorite the rusty bucket.  they were seated at a booth just inside the restaurant awaiting our arrival.  both greeted me warmly as we scooched into our seats and got to know one another.  conversation came easy among the group among local brews and delicious food.  i highly recommend the wedge salad to start and then the buffalo chicken sandwich – it was massive!  the chicken parmesan that grandma lorraine had was a generous serving also.  tony’s quesadilla and phillip’s philly cheesesteak didn’t disappoint either.  so much else on the menu looked so appealing that i guess we’ll just have to visit again!

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after paying the checks, grandma lorraine called it a night.  tony, phillip, and i, though, were in the mood for another drink, so tony led us to a local bar called the dub pub.  most certainly a favorite dive bar of those who live nearby, we grabbed a high-top and continued visiting while enjoying some whiskey-gingers and a few ipa’s from the columbus brewing company (referred to by ohioans simply as “cbc”).  soon tony’s friend sean joined us, and i think eventually we blended in with the regulars as we chatted, cheered on team usa during the olympics, and took in some preseason nfl games.

as our glasses emptied and the early evening grew into the later night, phillip and i were about ready to call it a day.  we bid tony and sean farewell and hopped in the rental.  as we cruised along to the hotel, phillip pointed out the grater’s right nearby and the convenient fact that they were open until eleven p.m.  it was only 10:30 at that point.  phillip swung the camry into the parking lot and we helped ourselves to the counter.

now, any of you who know phillip know that he has quite the sweet tooth.  i used to “blame” his mother because she is an ice cream lover, but now i know it is grandma lorraine who started it all.  she revealed that each night she either has an ice cream or a cookie with some milk before going to bed.  old habits die hard, i suppose!  😀

with many more choices at the store as opposed to just the grocery aisle, i did a bowl of strawberry cheesecake and mocha chocolate chip.  whoa, that stuff was unbelievably good.  the strawberry cheesecake was undoubtedly my favorite, and it was lucky i even got to try it since it is a limited summer flavor!  phillip considered his options for a while and then settled (to no one’s surprise) on a scoop of the buckeye and a scoop of the peanut butter chocolate chip.  i am telling you, this boy could eat only reese cups for the rest of his life and be satisfied.  i suppose it’s hard to deny a man his ice cream when it makes him this happy.

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it was finally after over-eating on quite possibly the best ice cream ever created on this beautiful earth that we hit the hay.  with two more days to go in ohio, we needed our beauty rest!

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it’s goin’ down for real!

back in december my cousin ali became engaged to her kind fiance mike (yay!).  like many girls, ali went into full-on wedding planning mode shortly thereafter, despite the fact that her venue is across an ocean from where they live now!

as part of this planning, i received a lovely box at my front door recently.  below the address were the words “must facetime/google hangout/call alison BEFORE opening!”  well, how could i not oblige!  after much phone tag, ali and i finally got a hold of each other and i eagerly ripped open the fedex packaging to find a perfectly wrapped gift.  the ribbon colors were gold and blue, two shades i know i look good in and i know that look good on me.  must be a good sign!

i carefully untied the ribbon and couldn’t help but smile as i opened the lid.  the first thing to do was to open the card, of course, to which i read the sweetest note and then most flattering request to be one of her bridesmaids.  i squeaked “YES!” in between smiling, laughing, and dabbing my eyes.  it’s hard not to get emotional!

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per ali’s instruction, i rummaged through the rest of the box to find the cutest little tokens.  first, fancy nail polish.  everyone knows how i love my nail polish!

next?  darling little hand warmers that i can wear during the ceremony.  after all, the wedding will be in the mountains and i don’t want my pretty little paws to freeze while holding that bouquet!

one of my favorite items was the gold mountain charm necklace.  very appropriate.  🙂

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and, maybe the best of them all, a picture of ali and me.  get ready, cuz!  california kelsey will be out to play in january 2017!  #forevermontoya!

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san francisco – day 3

another early morning arrived for brian and me.  he wanted to get a good start so that he could leave work at a more reasonable hour for some friday fun, so we whisked out into the already windy day and took the truck over to 24th and folsom for brian’s favorite cup of coffee at philz.  he said this spot was his daily hangout once upon a time, so if it’s good enough for him, it’ll work for me, too!

when we walked into philz, i was instantly reminded of the east side jittery joe’s back in athens.  it’s artsy and eclectic, and i loved every ounce of it.

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it’s quite the menu they’ve got here, so i trusted brian to do the ordering for us both.  he got us each a small philtered soul, a lighter medium blend of hazelnut and chocolate.  um, yes, that sounds amazing!  we took our cups to-go and had our first sips out on the sidewalk.  although a little on the sweeter side, the coffee was flavorful, a lovely treat to wake us up at just a quarter past the seven o’clock hour.

gah, he's just the coolest!

gah, he’s just the coolest!

we then headed east on 24th to find dynamo donut shop.  my friend mike had heard good things about it, so i felt it was my personal duty to see if the fun was warranted.  this little place is actually a walk-up counter serving up homemade donuts and coffee.

i was in the mood for something chocoately, so i gladly let the cashier recommend the chocolate rose.  brian went for a saltier selection with the maple glazed bacon apple.  she popped them into a to-go bag for us so that brian and i could enjoy them in a nearby park.  we plopped ourselves on top of the artful sea serpent because that seemed the most obvious thing to do.

we decided that sharing the donuts was the perfect thing to do.  brian bit into the chocolate rose first, and his face said it all:  he really didn’t care for it.  whoops!  i took a taste to see if i agreed but found i felt differently.  i actually quite liked its bittersweet flavor and cakey texture.  brian did come around to admit after a few more tries that it wasn’t so bad after all.

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even though i was a fan of the chocolate rose, i might say the maple glazed bacon apple that brian picked out was pretty awesome.  the glaze was just the right thickness to coat the donut but not take away from the subtle and sweet syrupy-apple flavor.  oh, and let’s be honest, no breakfast is complete without bacon, right?  ah, yes, how american of me!

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it was about that hour for brian to head out to work, so he dropped me off back at cafe st. jorge.  i just couldn’t stay away!  i snuggled into the booth with a sesame bagel and organic cream cheese and wrote the morning away.  all of philz coffee went straight to my head and got me uber focused.  i knocked out a whole day and a half of san fran fun in a short couple of hours.  booyah!

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san francisco – day 1

folks, it’s time this hard-working lady treated herself to a few days off from work.  where to, you ask?  well, if the title of this post isn’t a hint, i’m headed to san francisco.  yep!  a four and half hour delta flight brought me to this city on the bay for a long weekend to visit my cousin brian.  i know, how exciting!  he’s been living in this fair city for a little while now, and considering i’ve never spent time here, i figured a trip westward was in order.

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do i have much planned for my days in san fran?  not much besides a wine tour on saturday.  well, i take that back.  i plan to practically eat my way through the city.  i’ve promised myself i’ll do enough walking to justify the obscene amount of calories i’ll probably be consuming.  that order shouldn’t be too tall to keep since the weather in northern california is forecasted to be pretty gorgeous during my stay.  ah, thank you, mother nature, for your kindness!

but first, where does each cross-country journey begin?  an exhilarating flight across the nation, of course!  i hustled down to the airport this afternoon with my brand spankin’ new luggage (thanks to kari for helping me pick it out at tj maxx), left it at the baggage drop, and then patiently waited my turn in the security line.  i was a bit surprised by the number of fellow travelers this time in the middle of the week.  oh well, i was in no real rush, so i shuffled along and through like a good little guest.

after hitting the ladies’ room and filling my water bottle, i leisurely strolled on over to gate a24.  the gate attendants were getting ready to board first class, so i popped a squat and waited my turn.  i am a lazy boarder, so i usually just hop on at the end.  i mean, what’s the rush to squeeze yourself into a cramped airplane seat?  i always check my luggage since it’s free, so i don’t mind the later boarding.  plus, if you stick around the gate, you can be super touristy and take pictures of relatively boring and typical scenes.

isn’t this well-framed photo of my plane and jetway super interesting?

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and how about this one of the gate and all my fellow flyers?  we’ll be best friends long before touchdown in san fran!  oh, except for this lady on the right of the picture.  i’m sure she’d kill me if she knew i’d gotten this sweet shot of her white-washed jean backside.  hehe.

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oh, and here’s my personal favorite.  isn’t this delta sign just so picturesque with the fire hose totally photo bombing the entire thing?

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you didn’t think the simple act of boarding a plan could be this interesting, did you?  ah, just you wait!  i am a woman of many talents, one of them being the gift to make normally routine and bland life events highly entertaining.  i like to think i get it from my parents.  thanks, mom!  thanks, dad!

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