Archive | March, 2014

Date Night

31 Mar

Oh boy did I need a date night on Saturday night. Not only did I need some quality time with my husband, but I needed a Walter break. All grandparents were in Florida this past month so the only time I wasn’t on Walter-alert was when we went to my friend’s memorial service. Not so much enjoyment there. And this might be harsh, but this past week Walter flat out got on my nerves. He isn’t speaking English words yet (though David swears he’s moved on from Chinese to Korean), so when he isn’t babbling he communicates by noises and whining. Yes: loud, screeching, whining. Music to my ears. I would have exchanged large amounts of money for extra patience if I could have.

Earlier in the week, when I got the green light for babysitting night, I went on a planning mission. Ever since I finished Zealot by Reza Aslan I’ve wanted to see the IMAX movie at Fernbank Jerusalem. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever seen pictures of the city even though of course I’ve heard about it my whole life. It has an amazing – albeit tense – history, and although the seats in the front of the theater are neck breaking, it was beautiful. I loved it. I felt like I wanted to travel there and move there and like I never needed to go there because I just was there all at the same time.

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After the movie I made reservations at South City Kitchen Midtown. Dave had been there for a work lunch and had said it was delicious but we could never afford it. Luckily I had gotten a gift certificate to the Fifth Group Restaurants from a good friend for taking some family photos. So of course I chose to go to there for our date night!

YUM.

It is southern food the way it was always meant to be cooked by your really exotically rich distant cousin on your mother’s great aunt’s side of the family.

Fried green tomatoes, a fancy salad with raspberry vinaigrette, shrimp and grits, fried chicken, and a bottle of red. My only regret was not being able to order the banana pudding or pecan pie, but Lent is Lent, and Dave and I opted to be good for once.

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One of the best parts of the night was that we managed to not talk about Walter or the house (we’re putting our house on the market this coming week and have been crazy getting it ready) pretty much the entire night. It was great to be able to enjoy each other for who we are rather than for what we share together. It’s easy to experience that when you’re dating and getting to know one another, but once you’re married with a mortgage and a kid, it can be hard to venture away from those subjects. They’re all-consuming, and for good reason. I like talking about those types of things with the person I’ve chosen to spend my life with. But for date night? That one special night for just the two of you that you only get every once in a while? It’s got to be different.

When we got to the restaurant it was packed (thank goodness for my planning ahead!). The only table we saw available on the ground floor was a two top in a most undesirable place. By the bar, in the path of the waiters, basically in the bumping zone, and we were sure that we were going to be seated there. As the hostess led us past that table, I looked back at Dave with a “oh whew” look. We were placed upstairs at this cute table that overlooked Crescent Ave. Across the street is the club Opera, and it happened to be prom night (with security guards and everything, frisking those terrible teenagers before they entered their house of fun). We absolutely people-watched, enjoying the limos driving up and dumping out hoards of teens ready for a night of dancing. Prom dresses sure have changed! They are all very flashy nowadays. It brought on a lot of introspection about our younger years and also imagining Walter at that age. And how much older we’ll be when he’s on his way to prom!

Of course we got home by 9pm like good little 30-somethings and watched a little HGTV before bed. It was a perfect night!

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The Art of a Successful Party

8 Mar

Last weekend I threw a 30th birthday party for one of my best friends (“30, flirty, and thriving” already!?!?), and it was fabulous. I know we all have different versions of a successful party. But here’s a good recipe for one if you’re out there looking.

1. Make sure you have enough alcohol. I found a website that prescribed two drinks per person for the first hour of the party and one drink per person for every hour after that. Leftovers are never a problem in my book either!

We had wine – both red and white, – beer, vodka, gin, rum, killer kimonos, tonic, club soda, Coke, Diet Coke, ginger ale, Fanta, and tons of bottled water. We also had a champagne toast with the birthday cake. Don’t forget ice and cups.

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2. Decorations. I went simple yet it was more decorated than I’ve ever seen the house except for Christmas. We hung yellow streamers from the light fixture in the kitchen (reminding me that I need to look up high to dust), hung paper balls around the room, had a “Happy 30th Birthday” banner, had birthday confetti placed on the tables, and I made a centerpiece decoration out of birthday balloons that someone else brought over. Outside on the back deck I put out lights, and we had the fire pit going at one point. It was all very festive!

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3. Delicious Food. We wanted heavy hors d’oeuvres so people wouldn’t go hungry but also it wasn’t meant to be dinner. We had meatballs in a BBQ sauce, seven layer dip, buffalo chicken dip, chips, turkey pinwheels, cheese and crackers, and grapes. All the food was so good. I would have been happy if no one had come to the party so I could have eaten it all by myself, but I was glad at the end of the night when we had almost no leftovers.

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4. Dessert/Birthday Cake. The birthday boy’s favorite cake is red velvet cake (and who doesn’t like red velvet!?) so when I was looking up recipes, I thought that a simple recipe of red velvet cream cheese cake balls sounded just as easy as cupcakes, and a little bit more fun too. It turned out to be a bit more work than it looked (probably going to the store twice while making them didn’t help any), but they turned out DELICIOUS. I mean, one guest told me that the cake balls made him see Jesus. I don’t get those kind of compliments often on my cooking (especially my baking), and I never would have been able to do it without David. He finished up when I withered out at 1am. First of all, if you do normal size balls, the recipe will make 45 of them, not 20 like it says. Also, you’ll need two bags of baker’s chocolate chips and a little bit more than 8 oz. of cream cheese. Ours didn’t turn out quite as pretty as the blogger’s picture, but David did get creative with the leftover chocolate, making designs on the top like you would see on Godiva truffles. YUM. I can’t wait to forget about how hard it was to make them so that I can do it again.

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All in all, throwing a party for 30 guests was a lot of work, both in prep and in clean up, but it was worth it. And of course I loved the compliments on our house. It was a blast, and when everyone else has a blast too, you know you’ve done a good job.