The Troubadour

The man, with his guitars, piano and voice – and what a voice. I could never tire of hearing Elvis Costello croon.

I was so honored to get to sit in his front room (that’s what this setting felt like) and listen to him tell stories and sing for nearly three hours.  Three hours without a break. I think we benefited from being the last stop on his Detour, named for how his family says your out on ‘de tour.’

I also got to introduce one of my favorite singers to one of my sons whom I knew would appreciate it.  He was optimistic about enjoying it but came away a true convert.


It’s such a great feeling when your children are old enough to appreciate things you like, like great music.

So many great songs but when Costello stepped away from the mic and out to the front of the stage with his guitar and performed Alison, you could have heard a pin drop and you knew you were watching a legend.

Bonus: Costello found the perfect opening act in Larkin Poe – the guitar and vocal talents of this Atlanta-based sister duo is worth checking out. The folks that skipped the opener got a second-chance sneak peak at the end when they joined Costello on stage for several more songs.

Costello definitely has an eye for talent and is generous about introducing that talent to a new audience. I’m a new fan of Larkin Poe for sure!

Double Bonus: I loved the stage set. Simple, cozy and intimate. The giant old-time t.v. (now I’m feeling old) that showed family pictures and Costello through the years was brilliant.  The set was laid out perfectly to showcase his guitar collection and vocals, piano skills and when he needed a minute to take it down a notch, his folksy, I’m in a chair with a cool hat singing for fun, side of the stage.



Motivation to Move (Just Move It, Move It)


If giving 100% is the max output, we are all really, truthfully, rarely giving something 100% of our total attention or productivity.

No one is completely productive, all the time.

I seem to alternate between highly motivated and bumping along. I have been challenging myself with ways to be more consistent in my workouts.

This led me to think about what motivates me and others.  All in an effort to stay motivated to get more miles in.

So here are 5 things that get me jump started.

1) Fear of failure. I’m not a safety net kid so I have to make it happen.

So I’m always setting goals and this fitness goal is completing a half marathon.

I’ve never been a distance runner and as it turns out, I’m not really a runner anymore.  But I’ve tweaked the plan and I’ll complete it walking and have a blast.

2) Vanity. Who doesn’t want to look good?

I’m not trying to have the bod of my twenties but I definitely don’t want to look frumpy.  I don’t mind aging gracefully but please no frump!

3) It Feels Good. Yep, you read that right.

It might be tough to get out the door to workout some days but I ALWAYS feel better when I’m done.

Not a runner’s high exactly but I definitely feel stronger and healthier.

4) Food.  I enjoy good food and I definitely feel less guilty if I am getting the workouts in.

I figure if you are going to take in the calories, best to thoroughly enjoy it.  I never waste calories on mediocre desserts, probably why I rarely eat dessert, I’d much rather have the cheese and wine!

5) Cloths. I like to feel good in my cloths.

I’m not trying to be a smaller dress size but I want my wardrobe to fit well. Okay to be totally honest it would be great to drop down one dress size BUT it would not make me any happier than I am now and it would be a lot of effort so in the analysis, definitely not worth the effort.

Having said that you can always tell if you’ve put on that extra five pounds and everything is just a bit tight which I don’t like, so keeping that off motivates me.

So, looking at my top 5 motivators to exercise, fear of failure, which I had listed as #1 is my top motivator.  Setting a goal and telling people holds me more accountable than any of the other motivators.

What’s your motivation?



Chalk Art & Pot Pies

What to do on a beautiful Fall day? Head to Chalktoberfest!  Great art in the park and beer. What could be better?

Oh wait, it’s Sunday.  At our, house that means Sunday dinner at 6:00.  What to do, not to fret, Paul’s Pot Pies is right off of the Marietta Square.  Two frozen pot pies: one classic chicken and one Jambalaya.  So many great combinations to try, it’s tough to choose.


90 minutes in the oven.


And voila, Sunday dinner is served.


Squeeze in a football game and the perfect combo of family time and good food. No stress!



One Flew South


Yep, this bird flew south and stayed but that’s for a different day.

One Flew South is the best place to grab a glass of wine at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL).  I don’t know why people beeline for their gate and sit when there is so much to see, do and eat at this massive airport.

With the train system, it’s easy to get to Terminal E which is the original international terminal and hands down the place to hang out when stuck at the airport. One Flew South is also probably the best place to eat.

I was super frazzled as I transitioned from packing 5 days worth of work into 3 so I could head to the beach for a girls trip.  It took me two complete hours in bumper to bumper traffic to get to the airport but I was now through security with an extra hour, thank you TSA pre-check!  A glass of wine and quick bite were in order to make the transition from work to play.

Looking around at the Concourse B eateries there were some options but with a whole hour why settle?

So, let’s get this out of the way first, it’s tough to make the decor of any airport restaurant feel special and I’ll say this did not feel too upscale but heh you’re at the world’s busiest airport so temper your expectations – this is not going to be a multi-course dining adventure. The hostess was friendly and a pro at shuttling people to open spots, she quickly had me settled in with all of the business travelers at the bar.


Another perk of being at the international concourse is people are coming and going from much more exotic destinations than Panama Beach, Florida (the Redneck Riviera) which is where I was headed.  Luckily with all of their fancy accents they had no idea where I was going. I hope they say, I met this fascinating lady at the airport she was jetting off to PBC for a long weekend on the shore.  It could happen.

Our bartender Jay was awesome, doing a masterful job of crafting cocktails, connecting everyone in conversation and just being down right entertaining.  He is one of those bartenders that the next time I’m back, he’ll be like heh Emmy, how you doing. Guaranteed.

I had a great glass of white wine from New Zealand (in honor of my good friend from NZ who has a totally awesome accent and introduced me to NZ whites) and the Kamikaze roll which is super popular and quite yummy.  The wasabi is made fresh daily so consider yourself warned.


Now having transitioned into vacation mode I am happily on my way!



Bud & Alley’s, a beachside classic

A seaside favorite for over 30 years.  You come for the sunset (on the rooftop deck) and you stay for the food.


Warning: splurge alert.  This is not your low-cal, making good choices kind of a place.  This is a laughing with good friends,snapping a million sunset pictures  in paradise, oh my god this is good and I’ll work out double tomorrow morn… afternoon, kind of food and place.

You’re on the deck, gotta have drinks (mixed, ‘rita, wine or beer), pick your poison, you won’t be disappointed.  I will say the margaritas are excellent and refreshing and the wine’s are very generous pours.


The rooftop menu is more limited than the restaurant and my crab cakes were drenched in butter.  So, you can’t go wrong there and when you add in some yummy grilled asparagus, it was an enjoyable, expense (you’re paying for the view), dinner.

Bud & Alley’s pretty much has a lock on sunsets in Seaside, owning the rooftop deck, waterfront restaurant and now very casual Mexican bar and pizza bar restaurants next door. Heh, they have to compete with all of the fun, permanent, food trucks directly across the street that more cater to the families with kids – bonus for us nearly empty nesters. Oh, and did I mention Bud & Alley’s also caters.

The night is young and the fun and food are just getting started! We headed over to Rosemary Beach which coincidentally is where I would move to if I won the lottery.  I’d figure out a way to buy the penthouse at the Pearl Hotel, hell, maybe I’d just buy the hotel.


But our destination was across the street, La Crema Tapas & Chocolate, and we were definitely there for the chocolate.


A great glass of Malbec paired with Chocolate Soup.  So hard to explain how decadent it is to eat a bowl of thick chocolate with chunks of chocolate mixed in with a ball of vanilla ice cream in the middle and then topped with cinnamon croutons. This is so rich.  The bowl could be shared but we weren’t sharing tonight.  Three out of four of us opted for the chocolate soup, our adventurous friend went for the Hot Chocolate Molten Cake. I was so full I could not even try a bite of it.


On my list to try here are also Chocolate & Churro Sticks and Chocolate Dipped Bacon – I’ll be back (hear that in the Arnold S. voice).

All that fun and me and my chocolate filled tummy were snoozing before 11pm.

Warning: Wear long shorts to La Crema or you will stick to the plastic chairs and have to rip your butt out of them.  The wine helps with that.


Start Exploring

Can’t beat it! Go live it!



Continuing the burger theme in Marietta


Most all towns in Georgia have a square, in the suburb of Atlanta that I live in, that annexed town has the Marietta Square. It always has something going on from the Farmer’s Market Saturday mornings to the concerts in the park.  The square is made for walking and is surrounded by our local government buildings, an old theater, restaurants, and quaint/unique stores.

I’ve been meaning to try Stockyard Burgers & Bones for awhile now but I always seem to get sidetracked by my favorite eateries on the square instead. Not anymore, this one’s now on the short list.

Stockyard has an extensive menu but I focused on the gourmet burgers and trust me there’s more than just beef burgers here, think tuna burgers and the like. But I went with a classic as the litmus test, I tried the Yard Burger (Maytag Blue Cheese, Bacon-Onion Jam, Arugula).  What an awesome combination and I like that the burgers were a decent size, made for one person.  No guilt in eating the whole burger and no need to take a long walk afterward.


So, that’s the meat and now for the potatoes , Stockyard has another little surprise in store for you. The burgers come with fries (of course) but you also choose one of their homemade dipping sauces (BBQ Ranch, Garlic Aioli, Bourbon & Roasted Tomato Aioli, Chipotle Ketchup, or Smoked Paprika Aioli).

I went with the Garlic Aioli and I’m not sure how great the fries are but they certainly are an excellent transport mechanism for this delicious sauce.  I’ll be hard pressed to try any of the other sauces because this one is so good but I’m sure the others are yummy too.

I was so focused on the food that I almost forgot the ambiance.  Stockyard is in a historic building about a block off the square, right next to the Thai restaurant, which is why I have walked by it so many times.

There are a few tables outside with views of the parked cars.  Definitely, opt for inside, it’s not a large restaurant but it’s a comforting mix of brick and wood with comfortable booths.  They spent a lot of time (and money) on the lighting which is quite unique. It looks like custom-made pipework converted into lighting fixtures – it adds a nice soft glow to the space.


We did not go to the back bar area (kids were with us) but it looked like a fun, mostly local, regular crowd and I hear that if you like bourbon (I know trendy) you are in luck.  They stock over 40 whiskeys and bourbons.

I have to say Stockyard Burger rivals my Omaha burger eateries.



Hidden Gem in Rural Pennslyvania


Fall is the perfect time to catch breathtaking foliage in Pennsylvania and all that leaf watching will make you hungry.  A must stop by is the Saffron Grill in Williamsport, PA for dinner.

The Saffron Grill & Catering and Chef Maher, a native of Tunisa, will knock your socks off.

You have to start with the Crab Cigars.  Be sure to share because you’re just getting started. I wish I had a picture of this app – next trip!

So many entree options to choose from.  I had an awesome risotto which I can rarely get past on a menu and their short ribs with risotto is top notch!  It’s one of those dishes that I love but I don’t have the patience to make at home.

Other favorites at our table were the lamb and salmon dishes.  The menu will change with the seasons but you’d be hard pressed to not find a new favorite on the menu.  Don’t forget to bring your own wine, they don’t serve alcohol.  I love when I can pick out and bring my wine and there are plenty of places to stop and pick it up nearby.


This restaurant is cozy and intimate and packed with locals.  We have a new restaurant by us that has big farm tables in part of the restaurant and you just grab a couple of open seats and eat and hang with whoever is at your table.  We’ve met some great people and love this concept.  It would work really well at this restaurant I think.

So, if you are in driving distance, think Philadephia, head over to Lycoming County to explore the Poconos/Endless Mountains and the Allegheny National Forest area. Stay at a quaint B&B near Williamsport and make a reservation for dinner at the Saffron Grill.