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double zero

When you get to your late 20s (or are in your last year of them), weeknight dinner dates with friends are everything. Everything. There’s nothing like enjoying a lovely cocktail and delicious food with your girl. So when my friend Elizabeth and I do get the chance to meet up, we try to keep it fresh. Last week we tried the newly re-opened Double Zero in Emory Village.

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Featuring a diversely Italian American menu, this recently relocated restaurant (formly in Roswell) is a very welcome addition to the Druid Hills/Emory neighborhood. I live in Woodland Hills which is right off of Cheshire Bridge Road and often find myself having to go a little drive south, west, or north for good eats. General Muir is one of my favorite spots close-by and this may become a staple as well. Though slightly pricey for a casual weeknight, my birthday was a good reason to splurge on a good selection of their small but shareable plates.

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Seafood and pasta is no question some of my favorite to indulge in. When cooked properly, it’s an indulgence unlike anything else. We started with the clams with toasted bread and I mean, anything with toasted bread has my heart. The perfect plate to go with the refreshing-but-packs-a-punch drinks. We asked our waitress to help us make our choices and we were pretty satisfied with all of them. Elizabeth loved those briny and bright clams, I was surprisingly very much into the arancini and I think both of us needed two more bowls of the tonnarelli pasta.

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The portions are definitely shareable and we had enough food, but I just wanted more. How could you not want more? We scraped up every little bit of the pork cheek ragu from the plate pictured above. I will say though the scallops were awesome, it was probably at the bottom for me. Just not worth $15, sorry. I probably would have preferred a second bowl of clams or pasta instead. But now I know!

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One thing we did not get to dabble in was the pizza. I’ve seen their pizzas on instagram so my eye is on them next. I’m glad the restaurant is big, open, and uncomplicated. The cocktails were light but strong, clear and fresh. I won’t be coming here often (like as often as I eat on Buford Highwat) but it’ll be perfect for the occasional date night instead of the farther away alternatives. All in all, a great addition to the neighborhood!

no sweat

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turtleneck / anthropologie
pants / anthropologie
sunglasses / urban outfitters
heels / matisse via sinclair’s mercantile
necklace / anthropologie

sinclair’s mercantile

The longer I go on blogging, the more I want to get into vlogging. Why? For one, pictures say a thousand words but then videos say 10,000. Secondly I think my genuine reaction in real-time would be so much more entertaining than coming here and trying to rehash the experience. Do you watch food network? I basically want to be Guy Fieri but also touring shops, testing products, and interviewing artists, et cetera. How do I become a famous personality so that people become interested in my opinion?… I guess I’ll just keep working on it. If you know anyone looking to make a TV show featuring me, let me know.

For this blog post/episode, I’m pleased to introduce you to Sinclair’s Mercantile, a newly opened lifestyle boutique down in the heart of McDonough. Where’s that, you ask? It’s about a 45 minute drive South of Atlanta. So not TOO far, but far enough (for me) where this really has to be a purposeful visit. Which is really just fine seeing as how Lanie Beth and her husband Brad have made it their mission to create a beautiful open space with just about anything you’d need to enhance your wardrobe. If half my bank account wasn’t already committed to Anthropologie, then I’d be spending a whole lot of it here.

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The duo has paid careful attention to what comes into their shop, in regards to both assortment and origin. It’s truly a shop for the whole family and includes thoughtful accessories for life and home as well. Being that they are in the heart of a small town, they knew it was going to be quite a big risk to bring in premium denim and designer names. Somehow though they’ve managed to create a balance – I can tell it was an intentional focus – between accessibility and aspiration. I couldn’t really resist and I bought a ring for $14 and bangin’ Matisse shoes for less than $100.

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I’m a shop girl at heart so I love things.

creative makers: lauren friday

Boy, it’s getting harder and harder to write introductions that do my subjects justice. I’m surrounded by so many creators in my life, amazing women who conquer fears every single day and inspire every person they know. I don’t want to start sounding repetitive but there are just not enough words. Not enough words. This particular darling of a gem is someone I’ve admired from the day I met her; she has always had a fearlessness about her (although I’m sure she’d argue otherwise), a confidence that was so evident yet still humble. She’s just one of those people who loves people and you can see it radiate in how genuinely she presents herself. I strive for that sort of graceful transparency, and I couldn’t do it without role models like Lauren.

creative-makers-lauren-friday-12 Tell me more about what you do.

I currently work for a brand new educational business named The Callback Company. It is a company focused on training students of any age how to audition well based on their own skills. We provide Broadway masterclasses, seminars, cabaret performances, local showcases and NYC showcases to help broaden our students horizons and give them the skills needed to succeed in the professional world. We also help high school students prepare for their college auditions so they have an even bigger shot at getting into their dream program. It has been an amazingly fulfilling experience.

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So what’s your average day look like?

To be truthful, I don’t feel like I have an “average day”. Since I have so many different projects, it’s all about prioritizing and multitasking. Every day begins the same, however, with a bountiful amount of coffee.

What inspires you? How do you stay motivated?

I have to find the tiny joys within each day. The small victories often lead to giant ones. I also have an amazing support system that surrounds me. I try to fill my life with the most creative and positive people there are and gain strength and motivation from their encouragement and talents of their own. Inspiration is all around me, I think. I can be inspired by commotion or stillness. The challenge I face most often when it comes to inspiration is being in the correct mindset to see it. I feel like as an artist living in this world as it is today, it is hard to take yourself out of the daily grind long enough to truly experience your surroundings. This is something I am working on. The tactic that works the best for me is changing my scenery and other elements in my environment. 

an evening at the aquarium

Ah, the Georgia Aquarium. Who doesn’t love aquariums? They allow you a glimpse into a whole other world beneath the surface of the water; the glass that stands between you and the ocean life only amplifies your sense of wonderment.

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I don’t get to visit the Georgia Aquarium that often so when they invited me to their media preview of the new sea lion exhibit, I was pretty excited. If you think the GA Aquarium is awesome, let me tell you that it’s 100x better at night when no one is around and there are free cocktails and food. It was so quiet in comparison to daytime that it felt all the more like you were underwater observing.

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Now onto the fun stuff. We saw the first go at their new Sea Lion show and oh my gosh. They’re so amazing. These sea lions are rescues from California and pretty much your new best friends. If you feel like you have an inkling of wanting to work with animals, these guys will seal the deal for you (see what I did there)!

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In addition to the new sea lion exhibit, Georgia Aquarium has revamped the Dolphin show. I’ll be completely honest with you… I’ve hated the dolphin show in the past.

fresh harvest

I’ve always wanted to entertain the idea of a CSA but the convenience and ease of the chain grocery store often gets the better of me. So when Fresh Harvest contacted me to try one of their weekly baskets, I said YES without hesitation. Fresh Harvest is pretty simply this: a box of local organically farmed produce dropped off at your front door. You can’t say anything is easier than that!

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My first impressions were as follows:

  1. I love Batdorf coffee (not pictured, I already took it out of the basket)! They know me already.
  2. That’s a whole lot of greens (there were more sprouts I had already taken out of the basket too).
  3. What do I do with raw sugar cane?
  4. And whoa bananas.

I probably should have planned a little bit better for how I was going to use all this produce, but I was just kind of overwhelmed and excited by having such a great basket that I went wild and did whatever came to my head first. I figured the best thing I could make was something I already felt comfortable making – a veggie stir-fry. That way the ingredients would still shine and I could use a lot of them at once.

For my stir-fries I try to keep things simple and let the ingredients shine. I was able to use the broccoli (fresh broccoli = infinitely better than frozen), swiss chard, radish, and carrots. It turned out pretty swell, indeed much better than my typical stir-fry. It felt like there was an extra crunch and a rounder flavor to it all.

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As for the rest of the basket, I did my best to use what I could as soon as I could. Ben and I are only two people so we couldn’t manage to finish the bananas and mandarin oranges while they were in their prime. I used the mushroom in a noodle dish I cooked later in the week and it took everything to a whole new level; the noticeable difference a single mushroom can make has really opened up my eyes to cooking with mushrooms in general.

Overall, I truly enjoyed my Fresh Harvest basket. The element of surprise and challenge in using specific ingredients is quite delightful, as if I was on a week-long challenge of Chopped (with a much easier basket). I only wish I could have the basket last a little longer. Of course, this was just a free trial run and if I were to begin a weekly subscription then I could tailor things to my logistical needs. Fresh Harvest also has co-op and workplace options as well, so you really can’t go wrong with these guys.

If you’ve never tried a produce delivery service – or even if you already have before – I highly recommend Fresh Harvest. It will force you to be much more mindful of how you use your produce and what you put into your body. Not to mention, support local!