Mel Around the ATL – Pickett Mill Battlefield

ATLANTA – Written by Mel

A few weeks ago, I was skimming through the Georgia National Park guide looking for somewhere to go.  As you may already know from living here or from reading one of my previous posts, if you have a valid library card, you can visit most of these parks for no charge (there are limitations).  You just go and pick up your pass from your local library and you’re off to explore some of Georgia’s most exciting parks.  I decided to go to Pickett Mill Battlefield primarily because I live near this park and also because I recently found out that my great, great, great, grandfather was a soldier in the Civil War.  Growing up, learning about the Civil War wasn’t on my list of priorities; but, when I discovered this tidbit from my family’s past, it ignited a newfound passion in me to explore the topic.

The battlefield is located in a remote part of a town called Dallas, Georgia.  When I drove up to the place, I was a bit confused because I expected the museum to be right there at the entrance; however, it was not.  I had to drive down a little further to actually get to the museum and let me tell you, driving down that road was a bit scary.  It’s not that anything happened or was going to happen, but driving down such a narrow stretch of road with nothing but woods on each side seemed so scary.  Good thing I was driving down this road during the day because driving it at night would have been even scarier.

Despite how remote the place is, once I reached the museum, it was quite quaint and pleasant.  I started the day off with a picnic because I didn’t know what to expect in terms of walking the grounds.  I didn’t want to be hungry or better yet, “hangry” during the tour.  They have some picnic tables out front.  Even though they didn’t seem like they were used much – and this could have been because of the time of year I went – the area was nice, clean and perfect to use for eating lunch.  After lunch, I walked into the museum and was greeted by the very gregarious gentleman at the welcome center.  He briefly explained some aspects of the site and then allowed me to watch a short film that really gave me a general idea about the Civil War and the importance of the battle of Pickett Mill.

After watching the film, I proceeded to the display within the museum.  It’s not a huge display but I enjoyed the pieces that they had showing.  Key things were a cannon, guns, and soldiers uniforms.  Once I viewed the display, I had the option of purchasing memorabilia from the gift store such as books and t-shirts but I was a bit adventurous and decided to save this for last.  I wanted to explore the battlegrounds, especially to see the cabin that the gentlemen mentioned in the welcome center.

On my journey, I saw a variety of museum workers out in the battlefield dressed in Civil War attire.  I came across two ladies who were burning a fire  that they built from chopped wood.  They talked about what life would have been like during those times.  On my stroll, I also saw old artifacts such as more cannons, makeshift firepits, and an ax, designed to give the viewers a feel for what those times were like.

The crowning jewel of the trip was the log cabin that still looks like it is in great condition.  It was hard to envision a large family living in the one room cabin but it was certainly a humbling experience and it made me appreciate the modern conveniences that we have.

After completing my tour, I headed back to the gift store.  In honor of my grandfather’s legacy, I decided to purchase two uniform hats – one representing the Union Army and one representing the Confederacy.  Now I own a little piece of history.

 

See you on my next outing!

 

 

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Photos by Mel.

 

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Developing the Mindset of a Mover

Image of frustrated mover on Move Me To ATL website

Atlanta – Written by Mel

Does the thought of moving make you want to crawl up under your bed sheets and go to sleep for days hoping that when you wake up you will be in your new place with everything already done?

 

Unfortunately there hasn’t been a Rip Van Winkle approach to moving developed yet. Besides, not being involved in the moving process is not a realistic approach to moving. After all, how can you really kick back and enjoy a margarita after all the work is done if you aren’t involved in the process?

Moving ranks high with things you have to do but would rather avoid like necessary dentists appointments and meetings with tax planners. On the bright side, once these things are over there will be a tremendous amount of relief, right? Well – there will be relief as long as you are not in immense pain after the dentist appointment or you don’t have to move to another planet to escape an audit from the IRS. These are worst-case scenarios but in developing the mindset of a mover, we are only going to focus on the best outcomes.

So just how do you “develop a mindset of a mover.”

First, and most important, mentally move yourself into your new place before you actually move.

I once heard a saying that everything is created twice.  Once in your head and then again in reality.  Moving is no different.  Before you actually move to a new home or relocate to a new state, go there and feel the ambiance of the place.  Don’t just be thrilled by the beauty of the home; instead, really get a feel for it.  Drive through the neighborhood and act as if you are living in the neighborhood.  Walk down the street and waive to the neighbors and breathe in the air, basking in the essence of your newfound home.  Visit the local park and talk to some of your neighbors about what they enjoy about the neighborhood so you can start to mentally enjoy those possibilities, too.

Also, mentally tune out frustration.

Everyone hates the process of moving. Why? Because it involves change and change, whether good or bad just irks us at the core. But when the transition is final, a peace comes over us, knowing that the change has been completed and the past is behind us.  That euphoria that you often feel when you change your life for the better is what you have to visualize at all times during the moving process; not the frustration that comes from the process of making the change.

Stay organized with a checklist.

Another way to develop the mindset of a mover is to feel as though you are accomplishing goals.  There is extreme mental satisfaction in knowing that you are making progress.  The best way to know that you are accomplishing your goals is to have a defined list of outcomes that you can check off such as this one.

Remain optimistic and thankful.

I know that this sounds hokey but looking forward to the best outcome and being thankful for what good is coming your way will make moving a bit easier.  Instead of thinking about how overwhelming the packing and moving process is, focus on how enjoyable it will be when you have your first entertaining event at your home.  Whether it be a housewarming, tailgate party, baby shower, or birthday party, think about how much fun that will be and this will take your mind off of how annoying moving is.  After all, the move will probably happen once and you hosting fun events in your new home will happen much more frequently than this one-time move, and be more enjoyable.

Come on, let’s use positive thoughts to assist us in our move!

 

Image courtesy of Dreamstime.com

House Into a Home Hacks – Adding the Right Amount of Cream and Sugar to Your Coffee

ATLANTA – Written by Mel

I recently did a hack on making the perfect cup of coffee.  But what good is it to make a perfect cup of coffee if you ruin it with the creamer and sugar?  That is why I decided to share with you all how to add the right amount of sugar and creamer every time.

When I get coffee on the go, I usually get it from Dunkin’ Donuts and I’d say 95 percent of the time that I visit, they seem to get my coffee right.  I want to be able to add the right amount of cream and sugar every time when I’m at home because you should know by now how much I hate wasting coffee.  Hey, coffee is expensive, especially if you get a special blend; so, I avoid wasting it at all cost.  I’m sure you probably feel the same or you wouldn’t be reading this article.  Here’s how I blend the right amount of cream and sugar into my perfect cup of coffee, every time.

If you don’t like cream and sugar in your coffee and prefer your coffee black, then my previous article on making the perfect cup of coffee will suffice for you.  But if you are like me and you love cream and/or sugar in your coffee, then read on.

I start with the cream that I like.  I prefer Hazelnut creamer by International Delight.  I don’t care for sugar free but this was the only one in stock. Ugh!  If you are not a fan of the flavored creamers, then use the traditional creamer.  I don’t like powdered creamers unless it is an emergency but if that is your thing, use that.  This hack is for those who use the kind of creamer that is found in the refrigerator section of the grocery store.  These taste better to me.

As the perfect cup of coffee is brewing in the coffee maker, you can work on preparing the perfect amount of cream and sugar.  Remember, the story that I told in my last blog article about the advice that my co-worker gave me about adding cream and sugar first.  If you haven’t read that post, click here to see it.  As I said before, I buy refrigerated creamer.  The problem with it is that it can make your coffee too cool to drink.  So, I warm it up before it mix it with the coffee.  I usually grab my favorite over-sized coffee mug and add the cream to it.  Trial-and-error made me realize that six teaspoons of creamer works best for me.

I use a spoon like the one above and add six spoonfuls of the creamer to the mug.  I then warm it up for about 18 seconds in the microwave.  You don’t want to warm it for too long because it may curdle the creamer.

If you only add creamer and don’t add sugar, then you can skip the rest of these instructions.  But for those that like both, read on.

After warming the creamer, I add the sugar.  I do it in this order because heating sugar changes the composition and flavor to me.  It’s as if heat carmelizes the sugar and I’m not fond of that taste.  So, I add the sugar after I warm the cream.  Through trial and error, I discovered that 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 teaspoons of sugar work for me.  If I weren’t using the sugar free creamer, I would probably use 1 1/2 teaspoon.

 

 

The coffee should be ready to pour by the time that you prepare the cream and sugar.  I then add the coffee making sure that as I pour that it visually looks as if the cream and coffee are incorporating well.  This keeps me from having to add more sugar and cream and thus packing on unnecessary pounds from excessive sugar and cream.

 

And that’s how I make the perfect cup of coffee every time.  Thus, eliminating waste and ensuring good flavor every cup.  Happy morning!

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House Into a Home Hacks – Making A Cup of Coffee

ATLANTA – Written by Mel

There is something about making a pot of coffee that makes you feel like you own your own place.  Whether you live in a house, apartment or condo, making a pot of coffee is like declaring your space.  Unless, of course, you don’t drink coffee.  In that case, I may do a future home hack post for tea, water, red bull, or juice drinkers.  But for now, I’m addressing my fellow coffee drinkers.

A virtual show of hands – who really knows how to make coffee?  It seems to me that those who know how to make it have the Midas touch because they can just eyeball the right amount of coffee and water to add to the coffeepot. A little of this and a little of that and BAM! – they have made the perfect pot of coffee.  When it comes to making coffee, I put a little of this and that together and it either tastes like diluted water or cigarette ashes.  Ugh!

I’m the only coffee drinker in my house, so I hate to waste coffee.  Some of you may be thinking, “why don’t you just buy a Keurig and be done with it?”  Honestly, Keurig can get the job done for me when I am on the go at the doctor’s office or the bank and I’m feigning for coffee, but something about the flavor of Keurig-brewed coffee doesn’t do it for me.  I don’t know if it’s because the places that I get the coffee from don’t clean the brewer enough or at all, but it just doesn’t hit the spot for me like coffee brewed in a coffee pot.

Keep in mind that my favorite places to buy coffee are Dunkin’ Donuts, Waffle House, or IHOP and this may be because they brew their coffee on traditional coffee pots as opposed to large industrial machines. Or, it may be the coffee blend.  But whatever the case may be, these places make some tasty coffee to me.

 

small coffee pot

Anyway, since I’m the only one who drinks coffee, I went to the store to buy a teeny, tiny coffee maker for about $8 bucks.  If you need multiple cups, then you may want to invest in a bigger one, but I’m a one-and-done type of gal.  And like I said before, I hate wasting coffee because this is an expensive commodity.

This isn’t my first coffee pot. I have had a coffee pot in the past, but I had considered giving up coffee, so I got rid of my old one.  Now, I own another one because I realize that I’m an addict and this is a weakness that calls me whether I want it to or not.  I’m not necessarily addicted to the effects of coffee, however.  I think it’s the ritual of making it every morning that makes me feel like a grown ass woman going off to work in the big wondrous world of the hustle and bustle or as some like to say “the daily grind.”

I noticed in the packaging for the coffee maker that instructions on making coffee aren’t really a big help.  Coffee packaging isn’t a big help, either.  So, I threw up both my hands and turned to the internet knowing full and well that someone has to be suffering from what I’m suffering from: lack of precise knowledge on how to make coffee.  Nope.  Just more information on coffee making that confuses the hell out of me.

So, I decided to come up with this hack because I’m sure there are others like me out there who just don’t understand all of this hullabaloo when it comes to making a cup of coffee.  As I said before and I reiterate, I don’t have the Midas touch when it comes to making coffee, and though I consider myself a pretty decent cook, I just don’t know how to make freaking coffee!

So I started with simple items in my kitchen because I don’t know what the heck the lines on the coffee pot measure.  I really think those are there for decoration and have no real purpose because when I use those lines as a guide, I either get the diluted water or cigarette ash tasting coffee that I mentioned earlier. So, I decided to use actual measuring tools.  I grabbed my measuring cup, and I used the cup metric because “cups” makes more sense to me than fl ounces.  Yeah, needless to say, I didn’t do well in biology or math classes when it came to measuring things.

a measuring cup

Then, I whipped out a tablespoon measuring spoon because that’s what most instructions call for – and that’s the only part of packaging instructions that makes some sense to me.

a tablespoon measuring spoon

I poured one cup of water into the measuring cup and dumped that into my favorite big coffee mug.  That didn’t fill up the mug, so I added another 1/2 cup to the mug which filled the mug to the rim.  I did this to make sure that the water that I was using was commensurate with the mug I intended to drink from.  Since some water evaporates when brewing, I added that extra half cup to make sure that my one cup had some overflow.

I dumped the water from the mug back into the measuring cup which measured about 1 1/2 cup, and I poured this into the back of the coffee pot.  (You can also pour this water directly from the mug into the coffee well if you like.  I did it this way because I didn’t want to spill the water all over the place because my coffee mug doesn’t have a spout)

coffee to water demonstration

I usually buy Dunkin Donuts or Folgers coffee from the grocery store and in this case, I had some Folgers coffee handy.  I like to buy medium brew because I feel like the other darker ones taste too strong for me.  If you like stronger coffee, aim for the darker brews.

Folgers coffee

I then inserted a coffee filter and added the coffee in tablespoons.  First, I tried 2 1/2 tablespoons, but that brew came out too watery.  Then 3 1/2 table spoons and that brew came out too strong.  So, I settled on three tablespoons for 1 1/2 cup of water ratio.  This ratio seems to work for me.  You may have to experiment a bit until you have it down to a science.

While the coffee was brewing, I prepared my mug.  If you don’t use cream or sugar, you can skip this step but I use cream and sugar.  One thing that a coworker taught me is to add the sugar and creamer to the cup first rather than the other way around because if you are like me, I get out of control with adding sugar and creamer.  Also, when I add sugar and creamer after the fact, that packs on unnecessary pounds.  So, to avoid weight gain, I use her method of adding the cream and sugar to the cup first.

coffee cup with cream inside

Once the coffee is ready, I pour in the coffee and pay close attention to how much the coffee is blending with the cream and sugar, so I won’t have to add more cream and sugar.

And that’s that.  One cup of coffee down to a science.  What are some of your tips and techniques for making the perfect pot or cup of coffee?

Share in the comments below and don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram @movemetoATL

 

Photos courtesy of Mel.

Mel Around the ATL – Barber Bistro

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ATLANTA – Written by Mel

Hey, it’s me, Mel!  Yall should know by now how I roll.  I love exploring what’s going on around Atlanta because there always seems to be something new popping up around town that I want to know about or try.

One such place that is new in metro Atlanta is a place called Barber Bistro in Marietta, Georgia.  I visited a few weeks ago with a friend and we got a chance to get in before the crowd started coming in so I had a chance to get some awesome photos of the place.  The ambiance is very nice and I simply love the concept.  Next door to the restaurant is a barber shop and the restaurant is a bistro, hence, the title Barber Bistro.  I heard a rumor that they are expanding to include a spa for the ladies but I’m not certain when this will occur.

I will say that what they are working with right now is cool.  The place is aestetically pleasing and the food was delicious.  I love caribbean food so I opted for the curry and coconut chicken platter seen in the photos above.  They didn’t let me down.  This platter was quite delectable and my friend enjoyed her chicken wing platter also displayed above.

If you are looking for a cool place to chill or pick up a bite to eat for the evening after geting a haircut,  this place just might be a place to add to your bucket list.

See you on my next outing!

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Twitter @movmetoATL

Photos courtesy of Mel.