Archive for 'GEORGIA'

 
December 22
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Atlanta Botanical Gardens – The Holiday Lights.

I’m loving the lights at the gardens, but wanted to experiment with the light trails instead of just the regular photos of holiday lights.

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October 29
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Fall is here so the weather is crisp and just beautiful. We spent a day at Stone Mountain Park this past weekend. The pumpkin festival has been going on for weeks at Stone Mountain, but we finally made it out to catch the end tail of it.

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October 17
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Inspired by my best friends at [Sargeant Creative] back in California who built an urban farm in their front yard, and the stores bursting with new herbs, I decided to give gardening a go and would ask for help along the way. Little did I know that it would become that great home project that would provide me with delicious herbs in full abundance. I don’t think I’ve purchased any store bought rosemary, mint, basil, chives, oregano, thyme, and aloe vera since April!

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First off, I cannot say that I am an expert on this at all. I only started gardening in containers this year when I moved to Georgia because the spring was so lush and beautiful. It’s one of the perks of living in the “forest” in Georgia! There is nature all around me, the squirrels are always running about, the hummingbirds looking for feeders, the tree canopy over my home lend tons of shade on hot summer days. This blog post is only from my experience and consistent learning from YouTube videos and the helpers at Home Depot.

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TIPS:

Start small. I only started with a few herbs in case this hobby didn’t pan out. I bought rosemary, mint, sweet basil, and chives at Home Depot. Each cost me $3.65 and I also bought containers with good drainage holes for each one, and a good bag of potting soil.  These herbs are the most hardy in cold and they don’t need great soil to survive. Once we got the hang of it, I expanded to jalapenos, sweet basil, thyme, parsley and cilantro.

Don’t buy seeds. Buy the pre-grown plants with a stronger root holding. I HIGHLY recommend for new gardeners to start off with pre-grown plants from Home Depot or Lowes. Don’t start from seed if you’re new to gardening and/or impatient. I like to start the planting process with a small plant in a larger container so that it can establish roots and grow into the pot. All three of my pants grew really fast and in abundance, filling up my containers within a few months, so I already had to split and repot them twice since then!

Feed the soil. Amine likes to take the hose and just do a once over spray of water over the plants. For trees and bigger plants, this would be fine. Herbs, however, need good soil, so make sure to water the soil of the plants well and let it drain all the way through. I also add coffee beans to the soil and occasionally throw in crushed egg shells to keep pests away. My friend juices a lot so she’ll throw in the juice rinds and that seems to make her vegetables thrive like crazy!

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MY HERBS:

Basil: My basil plant had three stems on it and was quite small in the picture shown above. Now, it’s grown over 2 feet and I need to cut it down to size! Basil is quite hardy but needs good soil, so I add a lot of coffee beans and egg shells to the coals. I learned that you have to prune it often right on top of the nub where the plant splits. That way, the plant will develop more bushy leaves and produce more lovely basil to eat!

This picture below is right before I cut it down to half the size. I also took it out of the container and repotted it with fresh soil. I took apart the stems and separated the pant into 4 pieces. I cut a lot of the top stems off to propogate more basil in the kitchen window. From this one plant, I plan on propogating at least 10 more basil plants to grow by fall. It also makes for a great housewarming or “just cause” gift.

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Mint: Mint is more fickle and needs attention, but when it grows, it grows fast!!! It will sprout new vines within the week and you’ll see buds almost immediately.  I put my mint in a separate container and it constantly overflows over the container. The vines grow horizontally so leave enough room for it to expand. Tend to the soil constantly with good compost and/or pest control. Pests will get into this plant no matter what I do so I change the soil up a lot. Egg shells help and I’ll add compost.

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Aloe Vera:  I bought this aloe vera plant after the others and it grows quite fast! Aloe vera is great for soothing minor burns, scars, and is also great for moisturizing skin.

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Thyme:  Thyme is awesome with steaks. That’s why I grow thyme. It’s a pretty easy growing herb, and I just snip off the long strands when it gets full. Throw them on a cast iron steak for extra flavor, or just strip off the leaves and use as seasoning.

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Thai basil:  It isn’t an Asian household without Thai basil. I propogate this in abundance because we eat so much of it! Snip the purple flowers that grow on the tip so that it keeps growing and prune them to keep it bushy and full of leafy goodness. If there are yellow leaves, it might be that it needs more watering, or that pests have gotten to it. Break some egg shells and spread them at the base of the plant to help prevents pests and fertilize the soil.

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Jalapenos:  We love jalapenos in our household. We throw them into most things that we cook, so it’s important that our jalapeno plants stay healthy! In the beginning, they were very slow to flower, but when the first bud came through and I could see the tip of the jalapeno, it just didn’t stop after that! They grow in abundance and I’ve split the plant into two, planting one into the ground, and the other in a container close to my kitchen. My container plant started to turn yellow the last month when I was traveling a lot so I’ve been nursing it back to health.  If the leaves turn yellow and have white spots on it, it might be diseased so cut the leaves off and change the soil. Hopefully it will come back strong again.

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Rosemary:  Nothing smells better than fresh rosemary. My plant is actually quite small and hasn’t grown in size much. I’ve seen rosemary just take over it’s territory and overgrow into this crazy bush. Mine, however, stays close to its size and I’m not quite sure why. It produces and grows, but not as fast or abundantly as I see other rosemary bushes grow in my friends’ gardens. It’s enough for our household, but if I needed more, I think I’d plant another one in the ground.

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PROPOGATING: I started propogating for the fall around late summer, when I realized that my plants might need some more help recreating. I snipped off long stems and put them in water for a few weeks to get them to grow roots. Once I saw they had significant roots that might survive in a container, I planted them into the soil.

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September 10
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The Lantern Parade is on its 5th year and it’s getting bigger and bigger each year. This is my first year going, so my lanterns were no where up to par as what I photographed here. Next year, I will be more ready! Since it’s such a huge thing in the Asian culture, and I grew up attending the Mid-Autumn festivals at my church every year, this was a must see festival for me! According to Wikipedia, the mid-autumn festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese and Vietnamese calendars, during a full moon, which is in September or early October in the Gregorian calendar, within 15 days of the autumnal equinox. The festivals celebrate family, community, a good harvest, and a prosperous life.

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The walk on the Beltline is absolutely amazing. There are no cars, so everyone is a pedestrian or cyclist. There are lots of dogs and puppies walking the path with their owners and plenty of restaurants/bars to stop in for a bite to eat or a good cocktail.

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 Atlanta Beltline Lantern Festival

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August 01
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We took the Marta into the city today to photograph the city and to just walk through Piedmont Park and Midtown, Atlanta. We stopped in many different neighborhoods, went in search of Highland Bakery only to find it closed at 5 pm, and then walked through most of Piedmont Park. My feet are killing me [need to wear my converse next time I do this walk], but this picture really captures today. We walked for miles and miles through the city, the high rises all looming over us, coffee shops everywhere, the hustle of the Friday traffic against the early weekend starters.

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June 30
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Summer walks on the Chattahoochee with a good cup of coffee and cute pet are the best. Bring a good book and chill out on the lawn of the coffee shop that borders the river too. I love this place, in all seasons!! People are starting to kayak, go tubing down the river, or just swim! chattahoochee36   chattahoochee32   chattahoochee33 Read more …

 
June 20
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Tybee Island was recommended to us by pretty much everyone in Savannah. It’s the closest beach from Savannah, so we made a pit stop there to get our dose of sun and sand. Since it was a weekday, we were expecting it to be empty….but it is not. I forget it’s summer, so families are all out with their rainbow umbrellas and coolers. One thing I noticed here that is not in California where I come from…they bring out wheelbarrows into the sand filled with blankets, coolers, shovels, and everything else needed for a day in the sun! That is such a great idea!

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The beach city is quaint and not too loud. There isn’t the hustle bustle of a busy city, and even the kids are not screaming and being too crazy. The beach scene is like a time lapse to the 50s era, with radio boxes, low beach chairs, and vibrant umbrellas. Even the bathing suit styles here are more of the one piece 50s style which I think is coming back big time and so cute.

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June 19
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We took an impromtu road trip to Savannah on Monday and I’m so happy we finally got to see this amazing town. As the oldest city in the Georgia, Savannah still holds on to most of its history in its architecture, in the large oak trees with Spanish moss, and the wrought iron structures that came from all over the world. We ate so much good food and I yelped about it all here at Debby L.   I also made a list of all the places I went to in Savannah so you can check it out here. If you ever get a chance to see Savannah, be sure to walk through all the little niches and you’ll discover some amazing local artists, hole in the wall Caribbean food, and memories to last a lifetime.
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 Forsyth Park is a great place to set up a picnic on a warm day, sit under the oak trees and people watch!

 

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The Paris Market in the Historic District has amazing old Parisian things for sale. The outside decor completely caught my eye and I had to make a run through the store  to see what they had, and also grab a macaroon or two! They also have a really cute coffee area inside the market and if I didn’t JUST come from Coffee Fox across the street, I would have stopped in for some coffee here! It’s bookmarked for the next time I’m in Savannah!

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The Coffee Fox has great quiches and coffee! We tried the Mexican Mocha and the Horchata Latte. Both are amazingly tasty.

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Gotta stop at Paula Dean’s place and see what it’s all about! Butter, of course.

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Finding old and new friends

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Alligator Soul is one of those restaurants where you tell your facebook friends that you’re going to Savannah, and immediately everyone says Alligator Soul. I ran into a girlfriend at the waxing parlor in Atlanta, and told her I was taking the next few days to go to Savannah. She is pregnant and constantly has pregnant brain….but not when it comes to Alligator Soul! This place did not disappoint at all. The oysters a la soul are something to be reckoned with. The habanero sauce that accompanies the dish brings it just to another level. The Hilbo sauce is the chef’s signature, and it is incorporated into many of the dishes like the ribeye and lamb.

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Candy stores are all over the Historical District, so we stopped by the River Street Sweets near our hotel. The praline bites are made in house, fresh, and they let you sample a piece as soon as you walk in. They are quite addicting so don’t be shocked if you walk out with a fresh bag of them to take home!

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Hueys on the River is a must do for breakfast brunch. They are located on the riverfront, so you can walk through the whole strip to shop, buy souvenirs, get ice cream…and then have brunch here. The parmesan garlic grits are some of the best I’ve ever had, and the crab cake benedict is hands down my favorite benedict thus far.

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