Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Bank Fees

This morning I heard on the radio that there are going to be some new bank fees coming out next year. Are you ready for this? The new bank fees are for paying off your credit card balance in full every month. I was floored. Speechless. I just googled it and I found it on USA Today (which some people might think is a lame source --- but a confirmation none the less). I can not express in words how mad this makes me.

Apparently, Bank of America is going to start charging their customers somewhere between $29-$99 a month if you pay your credit card bill in full every month. And CitiGroup (who I have always heard should be avoided like the plague) is going to take it a step further and is supposedly requiring that you put a minimum amount on your credit card (either on a monthly basis or yearly basis -- I can't remember) AND slap you with a fee if you pay it in full. With as many laws and regulations we have in this amazing country, how is this not illegal?

So, let me get this right. I'm going to get charged for paying my bills? This is the most absurd thing I have ever heard in my life. If this is the truth ---Bank of America and CitiGroup --- you're stupid.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A no picture weekend recap

Weekend recaps seem to be my most common recurring update. I guess it's because I don't really get a chance to update much during the week. But before I get into rambling I guess I'll document what we did this past weekend....

Friday night we had a date night. We went to the Cheesecake Factory and split some nachos, sipped some Sangria and shared a piece of peanut butter cup ripple (or something like that) cheesecake. It was awesome...and worth every calorie. HA!

Saturday morning we met up with our friend Scott and Whitney at the outlet mall. Went into a couple of stores and then we all went to the Dahlonega Gold Rush Festival. It was rainy so it wasn't the greatest of weather but we were in good company. We met up with Ashley and her parents. I had a footlong corndog, a hot chocolate and half of a funnel cake. I figured I blew my diet the night before so why hold back on the funnel cake. :) Saturday night Ashley, Whitney and Scott all came back to our house for dinner. It was an impromtu occasion, but those are always my favorite. I was determined to make Taco Soup (because I had bought all the stuff for it earlier that week) so I made the soup and everyone else grilled something. The taco soup turned out pretty yummy. It's kind of like a chili...but with taco seasoning. It was very good!

Sunday was a pseudo lazy day. Mike went to play golf and I slept in. Around noon time I decided I had better get up and do something productive, so I cleaned our bathroom and did some laundry. I had an urge to bake a cake, so I made a Butterfinger Cake. It is DELICIOUS! I got it from Kelly's Korner Recipe Blog and I would definitely recommend trying it out sometime. It sure is tasty! We ended our Sunday with a piece of cake and a decaf Irish coffee (we used the Buena Vista recipe).

I love the weekends!

Better Late Than Never

I had every intention of posting these pictures the day after Brittney's wedding, but I'm just now getting around to it.
Here comes the Bride....

I asked Mike if he wanted to dance. This was his response...he wasn't feeling well. :( Despite this picture, he did have fun. ;)

Lisa and I with our cool shades.

Lisa, Brittney and I.

It was a beautiful wedding and we had lots of fun! Thanks for having us!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Great Day

Today was a great day because of two things:

1. I definitely thought today was Tuesday, until a co-worker reminded me that today is actually Wednesday. I felt like I was on top of the world when I heard that. :)

AND 2. Because today is Pam's birthday. I'm not sure when we will get to celebrate together but I hope it's soon. After searching through my pictures for pictures, I realized that i need more "just because pictures"; most of the pictures I have are from the wedding.

Anyways....Happy Birthday Pam! Can't wait to celebrate! Love you!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

San Francisco Day 6

Day 6 was spent traveling home. The flight was fine with the exception of a 30 minute period somewhere around Oklahoma. We hit some bad turbulence. It was during this time that we discovered that there was a passenger on our flight that does NOT like turbulence. Some poor kid would scream bloody murder every time the plane bounced around. If it was a little pocket he would whimper and if it was a big pocket he would wail.

We were happy to offically be in Georiga, happy to ride nice clean Marta back to our car, and even more happy to stop by Burger King and eat dinner for $5 (for both of us).

There's nothing better than walking into your home and taking a deep breath, inhaling that 'my home' smell. I love to travel, but I think the best part is coming home and sleeping in your own bed.

San Francisco Day 5

We started out our day by eating breakfast as Sears Fine Food. They are famous for their silver dollar, that's exactly what we got (there were 18 pancakes).

After breakfast we hoped on a cable car and rode down to Ghirardelli Square. We walked around, checked out some little shops, and sampled some chocolate (the Ghirardelli Peanut Butter squares are sooo good!).

After our chocolate fix, we hailed a cab and headed to North Beach. The North Beach area/neighborhood is the San Francisco's "Little Italy." I pulled our my handy dandy Frommer's book and we did a self guided tour. We weren't as impressed with this self guided tour as it was more of a historical tour (look at this building on the survived the fire of 1906.....check out the lobby of this building - it also survived the fire of 1906, etc.) and it also took us through the seedy strip club area. When we'd had enough of the history lesson we decided to have lunch at Calzones. We sat on the sidewalk and shared some garlic french fries and Italian pot stickers. It was delightful.

After lunch we traveled by foot to Washington Square - it's a park in front of the Saints Peter and Paul Church. One cool fact that we learned was that this is where Joe DiMaggio married his first wife and then later he came here with wifey Marilyn Monroe to take wedding pictures (they got married at City Hall because he'd been divorced). It was a beautiful church.

After visiting the church, we hoofed it up this STEEP hill. This is the picture from the bottom.

And this is a picture from the top of the hill. I guess I worked off my pancakes and chocolate. :)

At the top of the hill was Telegraph Hill. This is where the famed Coit Tower is. We payed $5 each to ride up in a tiny elevator to see a 360 view of San Francisco. We were up there all of 4 minutes. I probably wouldn't recommend doing this unless you just HAVE to snap a few pictures from that high up.

After visiting the Coit Tower, we decided that we really could go for an Irish Coffee. Frommer's recommended visiting The Buena Vista Cafe. This place was AWESOME. If nothing else, plan a trip to SF just for a Buena Vista Irish Coffee. It was perfect timing because the fog was just rolling in (can you spot the Golden Gate Bridge?).

The first sip warmed us right up. We got the recipe and we plan on trying to make our own at home.

After we finished our coffee's - we were standing outside trying to decide what to do next. I was feeling artsy and took this picture. I think it's neat because I look skinny. HA! Can you see the cable car?

We decided that we would take part in the Celler 360's Wine 101 class. It's basically, just a free wine tasting. We tried ALL of these wines.

Not really, we tasted 4 wines. This was us at the end of the class.

After the wine class, we were craving some sushi, so we headed over to Sanraku. This was another Frommer's suggestion and we thought it was just OK. It was considered to be an inexpensive place...but it was probably equivalent to the most we've ever paid for sushi in Atlanta (and not nearly as good). While we were waiting for a table, Mike spotted a man wearing a badge that said "All Access". Mike asked the man, who he caddied for and he said "Geoff'd you know I'm a caddy?" Mike then pointed to the man's badge. It just so happened that The President's Cup (a golf tournament) was taking place in San Francisco and Geoff Ogilvy's caddie was eating at the same place as us. The next day we saw the same man on TV, standing just a few feet from Tiger Woods. Pretty neat, huh?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

San Francisco Day 4

Day 4 consisted of renting a car to drive down the coast to Monterey. This was our first picture of the day...can you tell I'm super excited?

This was our sweet ride. :) We loved it. It was small but rest be assured that this car can scoot!

Our first adventure before finding our way to the coast was to drive down Lombard Street (the crookedest street in America). It was a total tourist trap, but it was fun. Too bad the picture doesn't show how crooked it really is.

Finally made it to the coast!
Pictures along the way...

This is Cannery Row in Monterey. We stopped and ate at The Fish Hopper. They were giving out samples of Clam Chowder and it was amazing. I would definitely recommend making a stop here if you're ever in the Monterey area.
We had planned on going into the Monterey Bay Aquarium but when we saw the price ($30 each); we changed our mind. So, we decided to hop back in the Mini Cooper and scoot on down to Carmel-by-the-Sea. Carmel-by-the-Sea was a wonderful little town. The houses were so cute and there were lots of little boutiques and shops to browse.
Recognize this golf course? Yep, that's Pebble Beach.
Hanging out on the beach.
The water was freezing!
Before turning in my most favorite car ever....we zipped into a small parking space so I could hop out and snap this picture. Unfornuately, John Stamos was not sitting out having a picnic. ;) But the skyline and the "Painted Ladies" were beautiful right at sunset.

Day 4 was a great day. :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

San Francisco Day 3

So, I got a little distracted --- you know by all the wine tastings. Anyways, here is day 3.

Day 3 was spent out in the wine country. If you're ever looking for a good recommendation check out Wine Country Limos. They provided snacks (cheese and fruit) along with juice and water and they also provided a lunch for us. In addition, we had great company (only 3 other couples).

Our morning started out by making a stop at Vista Point and then a quick ride through Sausalito. Good Morning Golden Gate Bridge!

Our first stop was the Jacuzzi Family Vineyard in Sonoma. This was probably our most favorite place. The wine's were exceptional --- we even bought a bottle (2007 Nero D'Avola) and it's being shipped home. Can't wait for it to get here and to pour a glass with a nice juicy steak. We also did an olive oil tasting and we bought a bottle of that too (The Olive Press Basil Parmesan Dipping Oil).

Our second stop was the Roche Carneros Estate Winery in Sonoma. I really liked the atmosphere of this one. It almost had a dude ranch feel --- I wish I had taken pictures, but I forgot. We tasted two wines outside at a picnic table and then went inside to taste two more. It was here that we were able to do a barrel tasting, which was very exciting. We bought a bottle of wine from here too (2007 Carneros Estate Chardonnay). After we finished the wine tastings we walked down a few doors into a cheese deli and sampled a bunch of cheese. They were soooo good! But, I'm a little biased...I LOVE cheese. Always have.

Our third stop was the Madonna Estate in Napa. We thought that the wine here was just OK -- not loving it enough to pay for shipping. After we finished the wine tasting we went outside and our limo bus driver had a nice picnic lunch set up for us. Here we are all enjoying our lunch in the sunshine:

The couple in the front on the right were from San Antonio (Roxanne and Allen), the couple in the back on the right were from Michigan (Marge and Eugene), and the couple in the front on the left (Madelyn and Sean) were from Ireland. Sean was a witty man --- when I asked him if it was true if the first year of marriage is the hardest, he grinned and in his Irish accent said, "Oh no, it's the next 45 years." And when we were all introducing ourselves, Sean said "Sean, you know, like Sean Connery" with a wink.

Our last stop was the Hagafen Winery in Napa. We also thought that these wines were just OK, however, the White House seems to think they are much better than just OK. Hagafen Wines have been served in the White House since Reagan was in office. And have been included with dinners when the Prime Minister of Israel visits (Hagafen is a Jewish winery). I didn't get any good pictures here either.

In summary, we are big fans of Sonoma wines. They made us oooh and aaah. The reds had a ton of flavor. Big, bold, and little spicy. The whites were smooth and will be wonderful with a pork dish or great just because glass. And while we thought the Napa wines were just might of had something to do with the fact that we had those after several tastings --- so maybe our taste buds were just a little tipsy. ;) Given the opportunity to do it again...I'd hope on that bus anytime.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

San Francisco Day 2

I should have mentioned in my last post that I have been walking around with the ultimate tourist flag - a Frommer's San Francisco book. It has been the best thing for this trip, I LOVE this book. It's equipped with suggested places to eat, self guided walking tours, neat little shops down little ally ways and all kinds of secret things that we would have never found.

But anyways, on with our second day.....

Day 2 started out with breakfast and then a stop at Starbucks. Using our handy dandy Frommer's guide book, we did the self guided walking tour through Chinatown. It was very cool.
The entrance to Chinatown

Hey! We have the same hair cut! Can you find my Frommer's book?

One of the stops in our self guided walking tour was at the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company. This little jewel was down a little alley way and had 3 little Chinese ladies sitting at conveyor belts, folding messages into warm cookies.

The nice Chinese man gave me a free fortune cookie. :) My fortune said "Treat yourself to a good book for a needed rest and escape."

After we completed our self guided tour, we hopped on a cable car, which was packed! Here we are hanging on for dear life on the back of the cable car.

Our next stop was Alcatraz. Mike took this picture from the ferry.

After Alcatraz we walked down to Pier 39. We heard a lot of racket at the end of the pier so we walked down to check it out and we found these stinky fellas. There were several hundred sea lions. Big ones, small ones, sleeping ones --- but they all stunk like the high heavens! Pew-wee!

Our next stop was Fisherman's Wharf. We had dinner at Scoma's and then took a cab back to our hotel and crashed.

It was a looong day. But a lot of fun!