Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Peach State

This past weekend I got to visit Atlanta, Georgia! This was my first visit to the Peach State, so I was excited to explore :-) With the help of Atlanta's best tour guides, I packed a ton into my weekend get away. 

What sparked the trip was Patrick's game against the Falcons. I decided to make the drive (about 4 hours from Nashville) because the 19th was Patrick's 26th Birthday. If I didn't go, I wouldn't have gotten to see him at all, except for when he woke up in the morning. Our friends, Ryan and Erin (Introduced in my blog post from last month "In The Woods With The Woods") offered for me to stay with them, which was so sweet! It made it a no-brainer for me to make the trip!

We went to the restaurant JCT Kitchen for Patrick's Birthday meal. It housed fancier Southern Style cooking and was delicious! We got a banana almond cake for dessert and they personalized it for the Birthday Boy - fun! I think my handsome hubby is getting better with age...26 looks good on him ;-)

After dinner, Patrick had to get back to the hotel for meetings and curfew, but our night wasn't over. Our next stop was the Sun Dial Room atop the Westin Hotel.

Get this, the circular room has a belt that is constantly moving your table around the room so the entire city can be seen. So unique! We circled in 35 minutes time while enjoying drinks. I opted for the Georgia Peach ;-)

The next morning, we toured the World of Coca-Cola. I love Coke and had no idea it was created in Atlanta. What a neat place! Coke memorabilia dating back from as far as 1886 was sprinkled throughout the museum, along with facts and information on the history of my favorite beverage. 

We also got to see how Coke is made, and taste 60 different Coke products from around the world! 

I'd say stick with the original! None of the other soft drinks compared to Coke! 

Like all museums, there was a gift shop, but this store was on another level! Anything you could think of, they had it there with Coke labeled on it somewhere. They even had Dolce & Gabbana sweaters and sweatshirts for the fashionista Coke drinker...for $180! Wow...I'll pass!
After, we grabbed some lunch at the CNN Center. I also had not known Atlanta is home to the popular world news station - very cool! This was double the fun because my friend Liz came to meet us for lunch. So nice to see my old college buddy! :-) 

The game was a lot of fun! I had never attended a game inside a dome, so that was different for me. We had amazing seats on the 40 yard line 

Thanks Ryan & Erin!

The game was fun, but not ideal for the Titans fans in attendance...we lost, and it wasn't the prettiest of losses. The final score was 23-17.
After the game we got to hang out with Patrick for a little before he boarded the bus for the airport :-) 

Such a fun weekend! Can't wait to visit Atlanta again in the near future! Thanks Ryan and Erin for being great hosts, and thanks Britney for being my "date" when Patrick wasn't around - haha!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mr. and Mrs. Stein!

On October 12th, 2011, one of my very best friends married the man of her dreams :-)

Kristina and I met in college and became fast friends. Over the years we only became closer and actually lived together our Junior and Senior years of college. Throughout that time we may have had one or hundreds of talks about the future men we would meet and marry ;-) Josh is exactly the man Kristina had always searched for and I'm so happy she found her other half! 

Kristina and Josh got married at the Duquesne Chapel, on the campus of Duquesne University, where Josh went to school. The weather was beautiful for mid-November. It actually reminded me of the weather on mine and Patrick's wedding day...clear skies, sun in the sky, and a little chill in the air. A perfect day for a wedding!

Kristina's bridesmaids were her sister Janelle and her cousin Brittany, who were later escorted by Josh's brothers.

I've always loved Kristina's mom, Netty, and she looked gorgeous for her daughters big day! How lucky is she to have had her Dad to walk her down the aisle :-)

You can see the pride in the face of Kristina's dad, Duane! Kristina made a perfect bride!

I loved the priest Kristina and Josh had marry them. He had an Irish brogue which made me an instant fan, but then he was hilarious on top of it all! Before exchanging rings, he held both in the air and proclaimed they were the tiniest and most expensive pair of hand cuffs - lol! 

He also put their hands on top of each others and told Josh this was the last time he would ever have the upper hand...witty! 

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Stein! May you have a lifetime filled with love, happiness and the best of times! 

The reception was held at the Willow Room in Belle Vernon. It was a very pretty venue! I think the most beautiful thing (aside from Kristina) was the wedding cake! Holy Moley! It was ginormous and spectacular! Hands down the most beautiful wedding cake I've ever seen! 

Another thing I loved about this wedding was the love I felt from their family. Netty and Duane went above and beyond making this day so special for Kristina and Josh! Duane gave the most touching speech welcoming everyone to the reception, and Josh and the Stein's into their family. It was a walk through all the moments in his life that "took his breath away". During his father-daughter dance to "Butterfly Kisses", projectors came from the ceiling and showcased photos throughout Kristina's life, and it was all a special surprise for her! Following, Kristina shared a dance with her Mom. 

Such a beautiful day for a beautiful couple! I know they are going to have a wonderful life together, and I can't wait to watch their love grow throughout the years :-) Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Stein!

Friday, November 18, 2011

CMA Awards Show!

Well, I can cross another amazing experience off my bucket list! On November 9th, 2011, I got to attend the 45th annual CMA Music Awards Show!

Since I was a little girl, I have LOVED country music! Nearly every home video of me growing up showcases me singing Hank William's Jr.'s "Tear In My Beer" - which sounded more like "Tewl In My Bewl" - since I couldn't pronounce my "R's"! Most kids want to be a doctor or a teacher when they grew up, but I wanted to be a Cowgirl, or "Cowgowl" lol - because I loved my country music so much. I grew up to the sounds of my man Hank, Dolly Parton, The Kentucky Headhunters, The Bellamy Brothers, Sawyer Brown, Shenandoah, The Judds, Confederate Railroad, Randy Travis...all those awesome artists who aren't making new country music any longer, but who will forver be my "Classic Country". I so badly wanted to be a cowgirl that I would dress up as one in my blue jeans, jacket with a horse on it, hat and of course my snow boots since they were the only ones I had being a Pittsburgh girl.

Throughout the years I have continued to love country music, even in those years where it wasn't the "hip" genre to listen to - "I was country, when country wasn't cool". Needless to say, a childhood dream came true when my friend Morgan asked me if I wanted to go to the show with her!

First, Patrick had promised me last year that if he was still in Tennessee this year, we would go to the show together. I asked Patrick about getting tickets the week prior, but he told me it would be too much with me leaving town the following day, and him having to get me to the airport so early before his longest day of practice. I understood it was going to be a lot for him, and said "Next year! No excuses!" and he agreed.

Morgan's boyfriend, Ryan, plays ball with Patrick and was in the same mind-frame. He also felt it would be too much to go to the awards show then practice the next day (Thursdays = 12 hour day for them!) so Ryan canceled on Morgan a few hours prior. Ryan's loss was my gain lol and I owe him a big hug for it! Morgan texted me at 3:45 asking if I wanted to go with her. My hair was in a ponytail, I had sweats on (needed to shave my legs!) and was about to go hiking...! I was like a mad woman rushing around the house getting showered, dressed and packed for my trip home, all before I had to leave the house at 5:20! I made it...must have been the adrenaline! Here's me and Morgs before the show :-) 

Morgan's dad is in the music industry, so he was able to get us amazing seats three rows up from the floor, where all the country music stars were seated! Here is a picture from our seat with NO zoom!

We had a birds eye view of all the stars who attended. We could see who was talking to who and what they were wearing...not gonna lie, I felt like a super stalker at times, but this was once in a lifetime experience! You may wonder what the stars do during commercial you have it...they talk to other stars and take pictures!
Faith and Tim chatting it up
Taylor posing for a picture
Miranda and Blake chatting it up with Kenny

The show itself though, was amazing! Not one performance was disappointing, each singer/group did an amazing job! If I had to pick a favorite though, Luke Bryan singing "Country Girl (Shake It For Me) was my favorite! He performed right in front of us and looked up and pointed in the crowd, so I just felt so connected!

My second favorite would be Sara Evans "Stronger". She performed on the center stage, so she was a little further away than Luke Bryan, but she had girls that balanced themselves on a piece of cloth in the air! It was amazing! Words can't possibly do it justice, check it out for yourself!

Another memorable performance was Martina McBride singing "I'm Gonna Love You Through It". Each person attending the show was given a flashlight, and we were instructed to turn them on for that performance. It was magical looking in the arena!

I'm also a HUGE Jason Aldean fan, so seeing him perform was a highlight - even though I so wish he would have sang "Dirt Road Anthem" - my fav!

Also gotta love Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley singing "Remind Me"...loved Carrie's dress!

And the big winners of the night...The Band Perry

Aside from the performances, seeing the winners accept their awards was very cool!

The Band Perry getting their award for Best New Artists

Jason Aldean receiving award for Best deserved in my book!

Best Female Vocalist - two year streak!

Taylor snagged Entertainer of the Year for the second time in her career!
It was fun to see all the other celebrities in attendance. We spotted Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Terry Bradshaw (Aghhhh! Love him!)

A HUGE thank you goes out to Morgan and her Dad, Bernard, for allowing me to attend this awards show with them! That night was filled with memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life! Thanks for making one of my dreams come true! :-)