Tiny Tattoos

Tiny tattoos, I’m obsessed. I have six [currently] and maybe one might not be considered tiny as in under an inch, but it’s still pretty small and cute. I have a thing for these dainty pieces of art. Each one has its own meaning or special memory behind it. Sometimes it’s about a connection to a person. They are thought out before I get them, the exact design, the meaning of the symbol and the meaning at that point in my life. That’s a big part of it. For me, it’s cementing a moment in time, a distinct memory or an important relationship.

Most likely my favorite tattoo is my Morse code tattoo – it’s a quote that speaks to me and a difficult time in my life. It was something I wanted on me as a reminder but not written out for everyone. I found multiple Morse code alphabets and then designed the tattoo in Illustrator and brought it to my tattoo artist. We had arrows on the paper showing left to right and which way was up so we didn’t put it on wrong lol.

Three more tiny tats. The skull on my back.. is a fun story that I only share with close friends. The Olympic running wings is a classic symbol. I found a few different designs and then sketched out my own and then designed the final piece in Illustrator. One of my best friends and I got these together, in the same location, on our right heel. We truly bonded through our runs and races together. It helped to build our relationship. So since she moved north we make it a point to run together on every visit. On my first visit to see her, we got them.

& Lastly from above, my rib tattoo (that I also got on that same trip up north). It’s the word ‘wanderlust’ and a Unalome. Traveling is a huge part of who I am. I love to do it because it allows me to open my eyes to new cultures and practices. I literally have an urge to go and travel (quarantine 2020 is killing me). A Unalome is literally a Buddhist symbol for the path to enlightenment, i.e. your life journey. Mine is technically backwards, but as you know, I design my tattoos and I did it with purpose. The swirls are the little crazy moments in life, the twists and turns, the straight line is one finds enlightenment and the tiny dots are death. Visually I preferred it laid this way with the text. I also think that you have many moments of enlightenment (straight lines) throughout your life.

Celtic Triangle

I have two more tiny tats. They were actually my first two. A pink & orange star on my left foot (first one). I got with my friend from school one weekend when everyone was away. For whatever reason, at the university we went to people loved to go home on the weekends. We were not those people. So we cooked up shenanigans to get into instead. I got the star and she got a butterfly. It was a fun college memory and something I’ll never forget, as well as I’ll never forget her.
The second tattoo I ever got was a downward facing Celtic triangle. A triangle facing down is representative of the female. It’s feminine. I believe the future is female, even when I got this in 2008. The triangle is actually one continuous line. It represents the connection of your mind, body and spirit. They are so intwined with each other. I’m not big one wearing watches or bracelets, so this placement was perfect for me.

Tattoos are a commitment. Yes, there are ways to remove them now but you get them for a reason. They represent a memory, a significant time in your life, an important relationship or even something that brings you joy. Tell me about your tiny tats & big ones too. Which one is most significant to you? Mine is my morse code tattoo. Maybe one day I’ll open up more about that one but as for now, just know it stands for strength.

and yes….I do want more. I’ve been sketching out a single line flower tattoo I want for my arm. I might have to do another post on that once it happens.

Happy tatting friends!

Halloween Fun

My girl Chanel threw the best pre-Halloween party! Literally thought of everything, including the most fabulous throne chair for us to pose in front of. The decorations were amazing and we did a potluck style food and drink table. Her candy charcuterie board blew us all away!

Did someone say happy hour plus sweet treats?

But… what about the costumes..Also, playing dress up at 36 is just as fun as it is at 5 😉

Which outfit was your favorite? Mine is clearly the blue Greek Goddess outfit, but my black top and silver pants with the pink skull is pretty fantastic too! AND I will say I NEVER wear horizontal stripes, but hello, this dress looks aMAZing on me. Let me know in the comments what you liked best!!

Coffee • PS I love you

Well obviously. I love coffee! I like it black. It’s the best way to judge a coffee shop honestly. Order their coffee black and sip. Do this at every coffee shop you go to. The reality is, if you cover up your coffee/espresso with a ton of sugar and creme/milk (regular, almond or oat) then that is what it will taste like (with a bit of meh if the base isn’t good). So, try it black, you may come to love it as much as me. The point, bad coffee is noticeable, so try it from the base before covering up the flavor.

So, how do you pose with your coffee for that perfect Instagramable shot? See below and then I’ll explain more.

So what do we have here? The almost sipping my coffee to sipping my coffee. The smoldering look off, the laugh at yourself for the last photo (LOL), the classic blogger look down (it’s cute but I’m not a huge fan), the real smile, another “Imma sip dis” and then the I’m putting it down, stop taking photos but I’m happy shot!

If you have read my other posts about taking photos, then you know my thoughts. Take a lot of photos continuously as you move about with your ‘prop’, which in this case is the coffee.Then you have so many images to choose from (and laugh at!!). But also, check the cute workout gear I’m in! Highish waisted heather blue yoga pants and a long sleeve black criss-cross crop top!

Devils Backbone

Tis’ the season, am I right? Devils Backbone is a brewery out of Virginia, who recently launched a canned cocktail line. To smooth the transition from summer to fall they sent me everything (literally) that I needed for the perfect picnic! Check out this amazing picnic blanket and all the ingredients for an adult s’mores pairing.

So what all did they send me for the perfect picnic (that you can easily put together too):


Picnic Blanket
Orange mini cooler (like the old playmate ones we all have)
A mini grill to roast my marshmallows over (plus the goods to make a flame)
Skewers for the marshmallows
Chocolate bars (classic Hershey’s & a dark chocolate with orange peel)
Graham crackers
Marshmallows (classic Jet-Puff plus a pre-roasted pack of vanilla marshmallows)
Glasses for my cocktails
A mini cutting board + knife
Orange and limes
Cute hats that say “ready to drink” (the theme of these CANNED cocktails)
Mason jar tea-lights (mini string of lights that are solar powered)
Straws
AND THE MAIN EVENT: the canned cocktails!
Orange Smash (which is my current favorite), vodka, orange and other citrus juices. It’s 10% ABV, so be careful!
Vodka Mule – yep, you guessed it, vodka, natural ginger & elderflower (7.5% ABV)

Ok, so you can see that they clearly thought about every detail to properly launch this cocktail and give me the best picnic experience! The weather is perfect for picnics right now and I highly recommend you check out their ready to drink canned cocktails. I brought them over to my girlfriends place last night for Wine Wednesday (we made pizza and it was actually Tuesday, lol). After we ate we went across the street to build a fire. We ate s’mores and drank the cocktails, and if you read all the above then you know I was sipping on the Orange Smash, my girlfriend Nellie was loving the Vodka Mule! Give them a try and let me know in the comments what you thought!

Birthday Weekend away

Covid-19 really put a damper on all of our travel plans this year. It also meant my husband working overtime and me, as a freelance graphic designer, completely out of work. Talk about a weird balance to get used to. We had to cancel overseas plans and smalls trips too. Six months after quarantine started, September rolled up and it was my birthday. Mentally I needed to get out of my house and out of my city for some fresh air and a new space. We couldn’t go far. Personally I’m not ready to fly and I’m don’t want to go the the over crowded beaches.

We decided to take an easy drive north of the city to Dahlonega and the north Georgia mountains. We rented a nice and secluded VRBO called the Swag House. It was about a mile off of the main road and so quiet. It was the perfect weekend spot, close to hiking, downtown and the wineries.

What have you been doing to getaway during these covid months?

smoked meatballs

Smoked Meatballs

You really can smoke anything these days. I’m showing you two versions of smoked meatballs. Meatballs for carnivores and for vegans. 

What you see below: ingredients for each type of meatball (vegan and then carnivore), what it looks like when they’re mixed up, individual meatballs, on the rack and in the smoker and the last shot is the smoked meatballs in pans with sauce ready to be put back on the smoker again.

Ingredients:
Vegan:
Impossible meat
Beyond meat spicy sausage
Egg substitute: 1:3 ground flax seed & water
Nutritional yeast
Almond flour
Dried basil & Italian herbs
Pepper
Red pepper flakes
Garlic

Carnivore:
1 pound ground chuck
0.5 pound Hot Italian sausage 
0.5 pound Veal
2 Eggs
Italian bread crumbs
Parmesan 
Ricotta
Dried basil & Italian herbs
Pepper
Red pepper flakes
Garlic

For both:
Mix all ingredients in bowl.
Form balls with about 1.5 tablespoons of meat.
Space them out on a greased wire rack.
Heat your smoker up to 275*

Smoke the meatballs for 35-45 minutes or until the internal temperature is about 160 (for both meatball versions)

Pull the meatballs off and place them into a small pan and cover them with marinara sauce. Place them uncovered back onto the smoker for about 15 minutes.

Then cover the meatballs with foil and smoke for an additional 30-40 minutes.

Final product, plus the smoke ring on the carnivore meatballs. I was so tired and hungry by the time we plated these that I accidentally grated parmesan on my vegan meal – lol! I served my vegan meatballs over quinoa and my hubby’s meatballs over handmade, local angel hair pasta.

We make double the batch so we can freeze the extras for quick meals. We just leave them in the bags and put them in a pot of water on the stove at medium to medium high temperature.

Serving Suggestions:

Dinner:
Top the meatballs on top of angel hair pasta and more marinara. Sprinkle Parmesan (or nutritional yeast) on top with some fresh basil.

Lunch:
Toast a French baguette 🥖 about half way. Slice it down the middle & lay in your meatballs. Top with marinara and provolone cheese. Broil at 400* for 10-15 minutes.

Pull it when the cheese is nice and melted and slightly brown.

Original recipe that we tweaked to our likening above:  https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TFvEWBxjsQo Malcom Reed is a great source for smoked meats! We love his YouTube channel for smoked recipe inspiration. 

Tag me in your posts on Instagram when you make these (@salutin@salutinthecity)

Omakase at District M

The Japanese word Omakase literally translates to “I will leave you to it” i.e. giving the chef the choice to choose your entire meal. It’s a great way to try dishes you wouldn’t normally order. It’s also great because you don’t have to make any decisions about what you eat and that’s always the hardest part. LOL!

For this meal experience you need to sit at the sushi bar as the chef makes everything in front of you. They’ll make a piece of nigiri sushi and place it right in front of you to eat. This goes on for at least an hour. Along with the sushi the chef will serve other otsumami (small bites).

Oyster Cheers!

We started the meal off with oysters
on the half shell, topped with uni and caviar.
Naturally we had to cheers with them.

We followed the oysters with tuna tartar topped with uni on toast with caviar, a sashimi platter and A5 Wagyu beef (the best beef in the world). The Wagyu was seared on a hot stone and literally melted in our mouths.

Hot Stone Prep

They prepped the hot stone
by greasing it with Wagyu fat

Next up we enjoyed a few rounds of sashimi.

Every piece of nigiri was fresh and melted in my mouth! This isn’t all of the nigiri we ate but a good portion of it.
We couldn’t finish the night off without a little dessert too. We enjoyed the matcha creme brulee and chocolate mousse (I’m a sucker for anything chocolate).

This omakase meal is hands down in the top five best meals I’ve ever had. I encourage you to try this in your city. It’s pricey but well worth the money.

Not pictured: Japanese cocktails and Japanese whiskey

Pasta making class with Chef Pat

Chef Pat is amazing. Funny as hell, tattooed up, hails from Italy via New York. His food is AMAZING. Literally his pasta, meatballs and pizza (which I order once a week). He can do no wrong in the kitchen, in my humble opinion. If you’re in Atlanta you can try his tasty food at The White Bull in Decatur, and Grana in Morningside-Lenox Park area. They host several types of fun dinner nights like polenta parties and pasta making classes! See below for my experience. Next time I’m in Italy I plan on visiting Chef Pat’s grandma and making pasta with her too!!

This is the process. I was surprisingly a natural at making the ferricelli (the thicker rolled pasta) and the scialatielli (thicker linguine style pasta).

Literally I made at least half of that tray of ferricelli, so naturally I had to pose with it!

It’s like playdough

So, apparently I’m a natural at rolling out the dough and creating the small ferricelli pasta!

the pasta man himself

Flattening out the scialatielli!

The final product! It’s definitely more fun eating pasta after you make it from scratch yourself! We topped the ferricelli with homemade tomato sauce and beef, and the scialatielli with shrimp, jalapeños and a creamy white sauce.

I really want to do this again soon! Have you ever made pasta from scratch at home or at event like this? Let me know! I want to try it at home but I haven’t quite mustard up the confidence. Encourage me!

Hot Cocktail Spots | ATL

Fun, low light spots to grab sexy cocktails with your people!

Clermont Hotel Lounge

Seedy past & seedy future.. The Clermont hotel lounge is on the main level when you walk in. They also have a beautiful rooftop bar and a classic Atlanta strip club in the basement. It’s one of those, you have to go at least once, spots in Atlanta. The lounge though, where you can grab this cocktail is a 50’s moody vibe with vintage Playboy’s laid around the bar. Go!

Bar Margot | Four Seasons Hotel

Swanky decor, sexy cocktails, and the perfect location to grab cocktails with your crew.

Little Trouble

Follow the neon lights. Originally meant to have a speakeasy vibe, the entrance guides you in with a large red & blue neon sign with their logo. Blade runner vibes & low lights make this spot one of my favorites for a cocktail (or more).

Little Spirit

This is all I’ll say, fun cocktails, the sex panther (IYKYK), tupac and biggie.

Ticonderoga Club

This spot is tucked away in one of our (Atlanta’s) best food halls, Krog Street Market. It’s small and dark moody decor make for the perfect spot to shy away and grab a few drinks.

Each one of these spots is sexy and low light. The cocktails are on point and you can easily sneak away into a corner if you don’t want to be seen. 😉
Where are you going first?

City Hopping – Barcelona

Barcelona is one of my favorite cities abroad. It is the perfect combination of European city life and beach life. It’s truly the best of both worlds with an amazing food scene, beautiful gothic architecture and a topless beach. [team free the nipple and normalize female bodies not sexualize them]

When I was in art school, we studied gothic architecture, specifically the Casa Batllo designed by Gaudí. He’s one of my favorite gothic artists. Aside from the gothic aesthetics, his designs are magical. Colorful, organic and whimsey. I truly believe his architecture is his imagination come to life.

And there’s the beautiful basilica de la sagrada familia, that is still under construction… after 135 years. They say it should be done in 2026, lol.

The colorful stained glass windows are one of my favorite features. You can’t tell how colorful they are from the outside but once you enter the church and you see the sunlight fill the room, then you see the rainbow of colors. Some of the windows depict stories from the bible and others are geometric designs with different shades of colors. I actually prefer that shapes over the stories, it allows the imagination to create.

So what do you think, do you think Gaudí’s architecture is his imagination come to life, or gothic principles on steroids. 😉

Have you been here? What was your favorite spot to go to? If you haven’t been before, what is the first thing you would go see? Or eat? I’ll do a separate food post soon!

Breakfast Sammies

Breakfast sandwiches are a little love of mine. Eggy & cheesy + bread or cream cheese & smoked salmon + more bread.. you get the trend. Dairy plus carbs, you can’t go wrong.

Victory C.C. (Formally DAC)

Think gas station style biscuits (buttery and salty) but much level flavor! Egg and cheese pictured here but they also have bacon and sausage.
Victory Coffee & Calamity was formally call Dekalb Athletic Club, they changed the name in the Summer 2020)

Emerald City Bagels

Smoked salmon, cream cheese & red onions on a poppyseed bagel is my go to, they were out so I opted for the everything bagel this day but still, so drool worthy!

Sama Food for Balance

Does a savory, gluten free chickpea flour pancake taco count as a sandwich? I’m saying yes, the Pitta Taco is filled with scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, coconut mint raita, avocado, fresh greens. Refreshing and light!

Bar Bacoa

Spanish inspired, fried egg & pork sammie with potatoes on the side (naturally)

8arm

Crab meat and fish roe on a toasted bagel!

Btoo’s

I know, I know, it looks like a waffle..with a salad, & you’re right, it is. HOWEVER, look closer, on the right side of the waffle, it’s sliced open and stuffed with avocado and smoked salmon! HOLY FUCK!

Russ & Daughters | NYC

The absolute best smoked salmon bagel anywhere, hands down, fight me on it. I will go here over any other spot in NYC. LOVE!

What are you eating first?? and yes, I know, I have a thing for bagels. That post is coming soon too!

Millennial Toasts Toasts

Sometimes I think I’m not a millennial but then I remember I’m making avocado toast for lunch for the tenth day in a row, lol! Our city fully embraced the toast trend and I’m here for it, check these spots out! Plus a bonus spot in San Francisco that is V Instagram-able (& so tasty).
[on your phone? turn your phone sideways for optimal viewing – you’re welcome]

Cold Brew Bar

Avocado Toast – sour dough bread with soft boiled egg.

Toasty

Unicorn Toast! Toasty is in San Francisco so naturally the toast is sour dough. They use food coloring to die the cream cheese (choose your colors) and then top it with sprinkles and an edible flower! Delish!

Muchacho

Salmon toast with pickled red onions

Cold Brew Bar

Smoked salmon toast on sourdough bread with Arugula, and yes they get two posts because they’re amazing. One of my fav coffee shops, great coffee and delicious food!!

Bar Margot

Inside the Four Seasons Atlanta, this crab toast is lightly toasted bread, a spreading of avocado, stacks of crab meat, radishes and greens!

Cooks & Soliders

Caña Klasikoa is a Pintxos style toast, pulling inspiration from Northern Spain. This is goat cheese, roasted tomato, green pepper, red onion, and pistachio on top of mountain bread

Bar Mercado

Chef’s bites, complementary with your cocktail during happy hour. This shrimp toast hits right with your cocktail!

Which one would you try first? Let me know in the comments!