Thursday, September 30, 2010

Random Thoughts for a Thursday

I am officially done with Sonic. I don't eat a lot of fast food, but Sonic used to be my go-to if I needed a quick bite or a little bit of grease. Today I needed the latter.

Somehow cooking dinner last night for a certain male friend ended with us seeing a band at House of Blues. Random for a Wednesday, but a few vodka soda's were consumed and resulted in me driving around today looking for a cheeseburger for lunch. If forced to describe the crap I just ate, I would have to say...

Soggy, wilted, old, bland, disgusting. 

Is it just me or has the quality seriously suffered in the last ten years? I mean, yes, it's fast food so by definition it's crap, but it's gotten bad.

***
I am loving this stuff. It's Sebastian Whipped Cream. If you have curly or wavy hair you need this now! I absolutely hate paying over $20 for a can of mousse, but my hair guy raved about it. Annnnd, I pretty much do whatever he tells me to for good reason. Not washing my hair everyday when it's straight is pretty standard for me, but typically, if I do it curly, I have to wash it the next day to avoid looking like a hot mess. This morning hair washing was not happening (see: vodka sodas, above) and it is actually looking pretty decent:
Thanks to Ian for the rec! (And yes, I really did just take a picture of my hair at work to show you.) 
***

I made spaghetti with meat sauce last night for the first time ever and it turned out pretty well!  (Thanks Elizabeth for getting me started).  I went with this as the base and then changed it up a bit.

Ingredients
1 pound ground lean turkey breast
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cracked pepper
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes, canned with basil if you can find it
1 1/4 cups red wine (whatever is currently open at home)
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tsp oregano
1 pound dried pasta
Directions
Set a big pot of very salty water on the stove to boil.
In a large sauce pan over medium high heat, brown the ground turkey until nearly cooked through, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat. This should take about 3 minutes. While cooking, season the turkey with salt and pepper. Pour the browned turkey into a paper towel-lined colander and set aside.
In the same pan used to brown the turkey, sweat the chopped onions in the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the onions have turned soft and translucent, add in the garlic and lower the heat to medium. Pour in the canned tomatoes and juice (stand back as you do this, or it will splatter and destroy your chic, white, no-iron button down shirt. I just assume this is what you are wearing, I find that the food turns out better when I’m attired in an appropriately waspy fashion).
Let the tomatoes cook down for about 5 minutes, breaking up any large pieces with a wooden spoon. Pour in the red wine and use your spoon to scrape up any yummy bits of flavor stuck to the pan. Let this liquid reduce a tad, then stir in the tomato paste.
By this point your water is hopefully boiling, dump in one pound of your preferred pasta into the water.
Return the ground turkey to the saucepan and allow it to warm through and fully incorporate. Add in the oregano and test the sauce to see if it needs additional salt or pepper. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and pour directly into the pan with the sauce. Stir with tongs to incorporate the sauce and cooked pasta.
Serve with grated parmesan reggiano or pecorino romano. There will be plenty of leftovers! Enjoy!


It seemed like it needed more liquid so I googled a few additional recipes and saw that some called for 3ish cups of water.  Is it bad that I poured an extra half a bottle of red in it instead?  It wasn't going to be consumed, and I figured that in most situations I would choose wine over water, so why not here too?  It was pretty good. Next time I'm going to kick it up a bit with some cayenne and/or red pepper.  My dinner guest is kind of a pansy when it comes to spice so I thought I'd take it easy on him.

That's all I got for today!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day Two

Hmm.... I'm not so good at keeping blogging promises.  So let me revise this to say that I promise to finish this 10 day business- just maybe not in 10 days.


Day Two: Nine things about you that most people don't know. I'm kind of an open book. What you see is what you get for the most part- but I'll give this a shot.
  1. I can pop both hips and my jaw out of joint. 
  2. I'm not OCD at all, but one weird OCDish tendency I do have is that I count stairs when I walk up them. In dance class eight counts. (1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8; 2-2-3-4-5-....) So strange, but I've done it for as long as I can remember. 
  3. I get really nauseous and shaky if I eat anything sweet either on an empty stomach or first thing in the morning. I'm assuming my blood sugar is out of whack in some way. A lot of times for breakfast I make a veggie wrap with hummus. 
  4. I am deathly afraid of sharks, but would probably scuba dive with them if I got the chance. 
  5. When I was 12 or so I was really into movie editing. I had this big table set up with legit editing and sound effects boards that we would use to edit goofy little movies my friends and I would make. That kind of thing still interests me... looking back I'm not sure when the interest died to the point that I didn't think to pursue it further once I got to college. C'est la vie.
  6. I had a nose job when I was 21. (It had a big bump in it. Most people don't know bc I asked him to leave a little tiny bump so it would look natural.)  But if you touch the end, it doesn't squish like a normal nose.
  7. I will eat pretty much anything (as evidenced by the cow balls from last weekend) but I will not eat sweet potatoes in any form. A few years back my dad paid me to take a bite of them since he was so convinced that it was a childhood aversion that I was simply hanging onto. Notsomuch. Still hated them but at least had a little shopping money to make up for having to get that nasty taste out of my mouth.
  8. I can lay on the ground and poke my stomach so far out that I look nine months pregnant. I'm hoping this means very stretchy stomach = no stretch marks when actually preggo.
  9. My favorite place in the entire world (so far) is the insane asylum in St. Remy where Van Gogh chopped his ear off. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

10 Day Blog Series

Since I've been lacking in a little blog inspiration the last few weeks, I've decided to follow follow Melissa's lead and play along with a 10 day countdown that has been circling the blogosphere.

Day One is "ten things you want to say to ten different people right now". So here we go:

Dear...

... ESPN fantasy football score inputers.  I'm not sure what was going on with you Monday night when you failed to count the last four points for the Saints defense until AFTER you showed the score as final, but going to bed thinking I won my match up and waking up yesterday morning to find that I actually lost is NOT COOL!!

... my brother & Whitney. Can't wait to see you guys this weekend! Looking forward to seeing your house, spending time with y'all and seeing what Phoenix Restaurant Week has to offer!

... mom and dad. I don't tell you near enough, but thank you for all that you do. 

... New York City Food & Wine Festival organizers. I have been traveling a lot lately and can't swing a plane ticket/hotel accommodations in NYC at the moment, so if you'd like to fly me up to the event I pinky swear to blog my little heart out about how cool it is. Deal?  And if you wanted to throw in a date with Rocco, Tyler, or Todd I prob wouldn't turn that down either.  Thanks!

... Whitney Miller. I am so happy that you won Masterchef. I think you are absolutely adorable and so talented for only being 22. I'll admit that I am a little jealous, since ya know, I tried out and didn't make it through the first audition, but I honestly couldn't have done half the things you were asked to do and I have six years on you. Well done!

... Nike. Can you please update your Nike + app to add the multitasking function? It is extremely annoying to have to pause my run anytime I need to check a text (or my fantasy football score).

... these boots. I want you. That is all.

... Brianna & Manny. It was so good to see you guys last week. I feel so spoiled that I'll get to see you again this weekend for your babIES shower. I can't wait to hold those baby girls this winter. I just know that they are going to be adorable!

... FatBooth app. Thank you again for your motivation. I have run a 5k two nights in a row due to your oh-so-realistic photoshop capabilities showcased in my previous post. I really wish your technology could work on wiener dogs so I could show moose the direction he is inevitably headed.

... everyone who leaves the water running when you are brushing your teeth, please stop. It's such a tiny, easy thing you can do to help our environment.

Love,

Natalie

Monday, September 20, 2010

Roadtrip Recap

Lubbock was a blast, as always. The Red Raiders started off strong, but fell a little short after half time. A win would have been lovely, but we had a great time either way.  Trip highlights:
  1. Alex and I tried "kalf fries" for the first time. Our friend Katy had a tailgate and they were frying batch after batch of them. If you are not familiar with the term, they are (no joke) cow testicles that are battered and fried. Kind of weird and gross, I know... but they actually weren't too bad. 
  2. I ran into my ex-boyfriend, Brian, tailgating before the game. He was with his little sister that I hadn't seen since before we stopped dating (a decade ago, literally). She was 10 at the time and now she's a senior at Tech. So bizarre! She's the president of her sorority and just gorgeous. It was really fun to catch up with her and see her all grown up.
  3. The game! Even though we didn't win, I thought we held on pretty well considering the caliber of team we were playing and the significant changes we have gone through in our coaching staff in the last year. Mark went to UT and we have an annual, long-standing dinner bet. He has a tendency to be very "specific" (read: high maintenance) with his requests so I am anxious to see what he comes up with for this one. I was running my mouth pretty hard before the game so it should be a doozy.
Some pictures from the trip:
You know it.  

Every good roadtrip starts with a big red and some authentic beef jerky (authentic = not the mass produced crap you would be able to find in New York or California.)

Game Day!

Al and I trying the kalf fries. Decent, but I think I'll be sticking with chicken tenders from here on out.

Cute football cookie used to take the cow-ball taste out of my mouth.

Al and Ryan.

We were playing around with some of our favorite apps at the tailgate. Incredibooth is a fun one if you have an iPhone 4 (not trying to be a tech snob- I'm pretty sure you have to have the front facing camera that's only on the 4 in order for it to work).

Ryan and I. The last pic was supposed to be guns up... guess he wasn't feelin' it. Stay classy, San Diego.

And my new favorite app that Ryan showed me, FatBooth. Also known as the reason I am hitting the gym tonight. And tomorrow. And Wednesday. It's a great motivator, don't you think? 

The girls posing while I tried to discretely take a picture of the tshirt Texas fan behind them. It was funny because I was trying to be sneaky but this guy wanted his picture taken. So I ended up just walking up to him and asking him to smile. He was really nice, but I have my doubts that legit Texas students (guys) would dare sport a burnt orange longhorn cowboy hat.  I could be wrong though...

Our new Texas friends. They were good sports and didn't rub the score in too much. Oh yeah- and they were born in 1992. 

I. Am. Old.

Another curious thing that we noticed amongst the youth: bows, everywhere. I could probably be considered a girly girl... so I can appreciate a well-placed bow or ruffle. But these were not your subtle, discreetly feminine while still maintaining your maturity as an adult woman, bows.  These were giant bows appropriate for someone who attends grade school- not a university. 

We were so confused by this playground-appropriate trend that we had to take a picture of the girl on the left. She was a cute girl (and just one of the many that we saw sporting one of these), but she needs to lose the bow. And sit up straight. 

Wow... I seriously AM getting old.

See ya LBK... until next time! Let's try to brush up on that offense in the meantime, s'il vous plait.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Happiness is Lubbock in the Rearview Mirror

The words to this country song are well known in Lubbock- especially among Texas Tech seniors. After four years most students are a little antsy to get out of the town infamous for smelling like cow patties. I've always been a city girl, so while I would never go so far as to say that I ever even considered staying in small-town LBK, I do miss it a lot sometimes.

So in celebration of our road trip back to our college town this weekend, I thought I would highlight some of my favorite parts about the West Texas city that gets no love:

  • The Campus.  Lubbock is not an attractive city, I'll give you that. It's flat, doesn't have many trees, and is very... brown. However, the Texas Tech campus is beautiful. They take great care in making sure that new buildings match the old architectural style of the originals from 1923, which I love. They are always planting flowers and grooming the grounds (my favorite time of year there is spring when they plant tulips EVERYWHERE). And it's gorgeous at Christmastime with all of the lights.
  • The Size / City Layout. I've always said that Lubbock is the perfect college town because it's big enough to get into a little trouble, but not big enough to get into too much trouble. There are enough restaurants/retail stores to make you feel a little at home if you're from a big city, but not enough that you aren't very appreciative when you go home to Dallas/Houston/Austin and have access to anything you want. And it's SO easy to get around in. All the streets in one direction are numbered, all the streets the other way are alphabetized. Easy as pie.
  • Cheap Booze, anyone? Ahhh the drink specials. Penny pitchers, dollar drink fridays, cheap chimy's margaritas, dollar schooners. The list goes on and on. After six years of paying $7.00 for a vodka soda at Dallas bars, I am looking forward to a night out where I can take a $20 bill with me and be all set.
  • Chimy's, Rosa's Cafe, and Josie's.  Chimy's makes the best margarita/quesadilla combination I've ever had.  Rosa's Cafe was a staple after Chapter on Monday nights. And Josie's is a fine Lubbock institution that sells breakfast tacos 24 hours a day AND has Big Red on tap, need I say more? 
  • Nostalgia. Of course, the nostalgia. Driving around seeing all the spots where our crazy college shananigans took place.  Here are a few doozies:
The fountain. As Tech tradition goes (or so we heard), it is customary to run through the fountain at the front of campus your senior year in your skivvys. Four of my sorority sisters and I took the opportunity to do this after our Chi-O senior night out. We all went out that night with red and black feather boas on, so we felt it only appropriate to accessorize our undies with the boas. 

Long story short: cops were summoned, getaway car was lost, people were separated, ultimately leading to three of us in a wet, feathery dogpile behind a retaining wall, giggling when suddenly police flashlights appeared out of nowhere. We tried to play it off that we were not, in fact, the girls running through the fountain when the cop looked at us and smugly held up a sopping wet feather boa he had fished out of the fountain that just so happened to match ours and said "oh really, then whose is this?"  Busted.

Conference Cafe. This place was known as being "the" spot if you were underage. You could literally walk up with the ID of a 6 foot tall tranny named Bob, and as long as it said you were of age- you were in. The first time I went after I turned 21, I gave the doorguy my ID and he gave it the usual passing glance, but I made him look at it again and told him "look it's really me!!". He laughed and wished me happy birthday.

The SAE house... also known as our second home. We spent many nights here laughing, dancing, crying, sneaking in, sneaking out, falling in love (and on occasion, out), playing blackjack, playing DJ, hiding toilet paper, and in general acting like we owned the place. 

All of my best girlfriends dated (at least one) SAE at one time or another in college. And even though out of all those relationships, only one is still going strong, I can speak for all of us when I say that house will always hold a special place in our hearts.

***

So on that note, I'm headed West!  I hope we'll have a chance to pass by/eat at/reminisce about some of the above places.  And even more hopefully, with all ten fingers crossed, we'll be able to use our homefield advantage to BEAT UT!

Have a good weekend everyone!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Foodie Friday- The Perfect White Plate

I'd like you to meet the thorn in my kitchen's side:

Yes, my dishes. I bought them the summer before my sophomore year of college with money I made waiting tables at On the Border. I loved them so much at the time and they have lasted me ten years. However, the time has come to say sayonara to my swirly, colorful dishes.

When I bought these, my version of cooking was pouring ranch dressing on my plate to go with my delivery pizza. Nothing that required more work than boiling was ever served on them until they were very nicely worn in.

I have come a long way in the last ten years, and have decided to get plates that can properly showcase the things that lovingly come out of my kitchen.  So no more patterns, no more swirls, no more colors.  I want white, simple, with clean lines.

So here's where you come in! I have found two styles that I love, but can't decide between them. One is more classic with the round edge all around it and the other is more modern and pretty much perfectly flat. I need help!

A little inspiration on my style and what my kitchen currently looks like:
Aspen vs. Essential

Aspen vs. Essential by nataliecay on Polyvore.com

And my two options:

vs.

(The Aspen mugs are the only thing I'm sure about- even if I go with the Essential dishes.) 

Despite my modern style, I like the classic lines of the Aspen, but I like the unrestricted surface that the Essential provides. Without any borders, you could do fun stuff like so: 
Puff Pastry Wrapped Pork Chop with Sun Dried Tomato Risotto and salad in a parmesan bowl

So foodies, newlyweds, bloggers, or anyone else that might have an interest in such matters as The Perfect White Plate... any thoughts, preferences, or words of wisdom? I am literally torn 50/50 so I welcome your feedback with open arms.

Thank you in advance!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Well hello again...

Hello loves.  Sorry for my unintentional break from blogging. It's been a busy two weeks filled with football, family, long lost friends, and more football.

I spent this last weekend with my best friend, Brianna, and her husband. We hadn't seen each other since her wedding- three years ago. Um, yeah... totally my fault. I am semi-allergic to talking on the phone which makes long distance friendships/relationships somewhat difficult. I would seriously probably rather do my taxes than have hours-long phone conversations. But regardless of the time lapse, we had a wonderful weekend and she is the same girl that I remember and adore- always happy and always radiating life.

And she is definitely radiating life these days, because she's pregnant! With identical twin girls! She's due in November and I was a little surprised that her hubs planned a surprise trip for them to come see me that late in her pregnancy. Despite her big ol' belly, she was a trooper: we shopped, walked around a museum, shopped some more, and even went to a bar(!) so they could meet some of my friends. Because, ya know, if you want to meet my friends... apparently that's the best place to find them. 
At the airport.  Better picture of the belly below.
The girls were moving all over the place all weekend.  I have several good friends that have been pregnant but have never been able to feel the baby kick before. It was unreal. Can't wait to meet these feisty girls in-person!
Brianna ate every two hours... unfortunately, I usually did too. I understand this "sympathy weight" business all too well after her visit. This was one of the snacks I made her with her husband passed out in the background.

Other than that, I have been busy plotting total domination of my fantasy football league.  Which is going quite nicely. Granted we're only one week in, but I did have the highest score out of all 12 of us this week. Nice TD's is off to a good start!
101 points!

This shit talking is my favorite part, naturally.

Hope everyone is having a good week. I'll try to step up my game around here in the coming days.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Foodie Friday - Crock Pot Pulled Pork

This is one of my absolute favorite fall dishes. It's incredibly easy, makes a ton, and fills your house with the most delicious, mouth-watering smell of fall.  This, and pizza by the scoop are probably my two most requested recipes.

I strongly believe that the secret to this is the Rudy's Original BBQ sauce. I found this recipe on Annie's Eats and she suggests using Rudy's Sissy sauce (less spicy). My mom has tried to make it before with the sissy sauce and said it lacked a lot of the flavor. My mantra in the kitchen is the spicier the better, so I'm not sure I would be the proper judge, but I feel like cooking it for for 8 hours maybe eases up the kick a little? Who knows... but my advice is to use Rudy's Original. If you're not lucky enough to live in Texas and have access to a Rudy's, you can buy it here. (or substitute your personal favorite)

I make this for almost every game-watching party we throw in the fall. Since you make it so far in advance it cuts down on the pre-party frantic prepping. And it makes so much that it's great for leftovers or for breakfast: mix a little pulled pork with scrambled eggs, throw it in a tortilla with some cheese and you have an amazing breakfast taco!


Pulled Pork {courtesy of Annie's Eats}
  • 3-4 lb. pork roast
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 T creole mustard
  • 3-4 shakes of Worcestershire
  • 16 oz. Rudy's Original BBQ Sauce
  • Buns, pickles, onions, etc.
  1. Add stock, creole mustard, and Worcestershire sauce to the crockpot and stir. 
  2. Place pork roast in crock pot, turning to coat. 
  3. Cover top of roast with a layer of BBQ sauce.
  4. Cover with lid and cook on low for 8 hours.
  5. Come home to a delicious smelling house.
  6. Take pork roast out with tongs and place on baking sheet or other work surface- warning, it will be falling apart with delectable tenderness.
  7. Discard liquid or pour into a fat separator and use some of the goodness to make the pulled pork extra juicy (optional).
  8. Shred pork with two forks, removing the extra fatty bits as you go.  
  9. Dump shredded pork back into crock pot and toss with remaining BBQ sauce.
  10. Let warm through and serve!
Enjoy and happy Labor Day weekend!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

August in Pictures

As fun as August was, with all the weddings and birthdays, I am so excited to say PEACE OUT! Along with the rest of DFW, I am so ready for cooler weather and football. So August: it's been real, but I'd like to say hasta and thanks for the following memories... 
The Dot at Abacus on her birthday.

My favorite farmer, Mr. Lemley, selling his goods at the Dallas Farmer's Market. I've been buying his tomatoes for years, but this was the first time I've ever seen him in person, so of course I had to take a picture!

Woohoo!  I got this AP update while I was in a meeting.  I'm a firm believer that this is a generational issue and I think it's only a matter of time before gay marriage is legal across the board. One day we'll look back on this and think it was as crazy as women not having the right to vote. On a related note, I loved this post back in the spring from a fellow blogger that is like-minded on this issue. It's so cool to see the joy on these strangers' faces.

Sweet Laura and her "mini". We love to harass her about living the minivan dream up in Kansas. Leaving Julie's rehearsal they happened to be in front of us in the parking garage. I took the opportunity to snap some photos of the infamous mini and she popped her head out the side to yell "I SEE YOU- THIS BETTER NOT END UP ON YOUR BLOG!"  hehehe....

*Also note Erika walking around in the background. She did this for the next twenty minutes or so because she lost her car in the underground garage. 

 
 The girls relaxing on Julie's wedding day. Ella (the little one, front/center) likes to play this game where you hold her in front of you in the water and spin her around... for some reason she calls this game "bridge". At one point she started yelling at Alex at the top of her lungs "HEY BRIDGE!!  BRIDGE!!" Only in her little girl voice it sounded like she kept yelling "HEY BITCH! BITCH!!" After a moment of stunned silence, we just about died laughing.

Jules getting ready before her wedding with her mom and sister.


Bossdad blowing out his candles on his birthday.

Best panini ever. Leftover Al Bernait's prime rib sliced up, on San Francisco sourdough with homemade horseradish sauce. A little red vino and I was a happy girl.

Never missing the opportunity for some theme-party action (must be the sorority girl in me), moose and I got sporty for the Fantasy Football Draft.

Wylie pouting after I iced him at the pool. I have to give him props though- he was done before I could even get the camera app on my phone open.

Jasper's Maytag Blue Cheese Chips.  I am not a fan of blue cheese (probably the one and only cheese I am not fond of) but wow, these make blue cheese not only bearable, but damn good. Delicious!

Fun fish eye picture of the Georgia Aquarium of a 600 lb. grouper with one of the whale sharks in the background.

Welcome, September! Let's play nice and get my fantasy football team off to a good start, mmkay?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Weddings and Whales - Part Whale

What a great weekend. I got to see two people I love dearly get married AND I got to cross something off my 30x30 list.... a nice, productive weekend if I do say so myself.

Rachel and Matthew wanted to have a domestic destination wedding and settled on Andrews, North Carolina- which is in the far west corner of NC. Because of this, the two closest airports were Chattanooga and Atlanta. I jumped on Atlanta like white on rice.

Why did I so eagerly travel to the worst airport in America, you ask? Well, because going to the Georgia Aquarium just so happened to be #12 on my 30x30 list.

I had a GREAT time and was so happy I went.  Here are a few pics of my adventure... {Note: the Wedding part of my trip will be coming as soon as some of my fellow wedding attendees post/send me pictures.}
I scheduled my flight back later than the friends I was riding with so they could drop me off on their way. It worked out perfectly- we got to Atlanta at 1:30 which gave me 3.5 hours. The wedding crew called me a dork for not flying back to Dallas with everyone else, but both friends I rode with said they were sad and wanted to come too when they dropped me off and saw how massive the aquarium was.

The tropical tank. It had a wave that crashed overhead which is why it looks all ripple-y. 

All the tropical fish.

Sea horses that used their tails to latch onto each other and/or the seaweed.

The pool of stingrays and sharks you could pet. I was touching a stingray not paying much attention when a shark swam right up to my hand. I snorkeled with stingrays in Cayman so they don't bother me, but that shark coming out of nowhere freaked me the f out. I may or may not have jumped back and screamed like a four year old.

I took a break from the fish to eat a little of the four legged animal variety. I couldn't have gone to Atlanta and not had BBQ!

Great white from the underwater tunnel.

Whale shark from the underwater tunnel.

Manta ray... this thing was 15 feet across... as tall as most giraffes!


        
Whale Sharks

Me in front of the big tank... naturally all the big fish swam off just in time for the picture. Guess they were camera shy.

 
Beluga Whale.

One of the sea otters.


This was by far my favorite part of the aquarium. They had two California sea otters- Oz and Gracie.  You could tell them apart because Gracie mostly floats on her back with one paw in her mouth chillin.  Oz is a bit more feisty as you can see. Apparently they shoot shrimp out of those holes in the wall and Oz was banging on the wall bc he was hungry.  Too cute!


A video of the main tank at the aquarium. You can see all the huge animals that they have including hammerheads and one of the four whale sharks.

I would recommend going if you ever get the chance. Although I might suggest going during the week. I went on Sunday and it was packed. But even with the insane crowds I was really happy I got the chance to go.  

Finally crossing something non-culinary off the ol' 30x30 list was quite the accomplishment. Inspired, I wrote out a game plan on the flight home from Atlanta to knock out all the others that are within my control. There's some pretty hefty things on there, so from the looks of things it's going to be a busy year and a half!