Heading Down South to the Land of the Pines

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Hello, friendlies! I apologize for my long absence. I planned on pre-writing some posts before my trip and as usual my plans didn't quite pan out. Honestly I'm glad to have a little break from everything. Now that WORK IS OVER - yes, I'm the happiest unemployed person you'll ever meet - my schedule is wide open. Time to catch up on all things blog-related!

So last week(end), Nick and I went on our first "adult" vacation in Atlanta. We've taken a few mini-trips over that past six and a half years (for those counting, our "half" anniversary was July 14...weirdos) but those were usually with family or short like when he accompanied me to my med school interview in Kansas City last fall. Anyway, it was a new experience for us and the start of our lifelong goal of attending a baseball game at all 30 MLB ballparks. Collectively I think we have eight or so down but together we now have two, which is what really counts . We're thinking Detroit or Pittsburg next...nothing too expensive for quite a few years!

We left Cincy on Wednesday morning super early and made it to Atlanta in about seven hours - thankfully I wasn't driving. The best part? We didn't kill each other. When I'm in a car for hours on end, I tend to get pretty stir crazy and end up talking a lot (or making stupid noises to fill any silence). Next time Princess Heather says we fly.
Our Route//Pretty Smoky Mountains//Soy Chai Latte//A Typical Heather Face

Confession time: I'm enamored with the South. I don't know whether it's the accents, the charm, the beautiful scenery, or my issues with reality but driving into Atlanta was a magical experience for me. Don't hate me because I'm crazy. I kept looking for any sign of The Walking Dead or Real Housewives of Atlanta - a building I recognized or a sign, maybe a walker, something! When I love something, you'll know and I <3 Walking Dead & trashy reality TV. 

OK so we made it to our hotel and we were tired. I elected to workout (my own and only workout all weekend) & Nick took a nap which was well-deserved after driving the whole way. 

I ran two miles on the treadmill in accordance with my Hal Higdon training schedule and I hated every second. Treadmills suck. I'd much rather be outside which I easily could have done. We were staying in Buckhead which is a very nice part of the city (not scary) but knowing me I'd get lost. I also did a few rounds of tabata for arms and I was dunzo - I'm on VAY-CAY-SHUN, as Nick says. I used this to justify any poor food or beverage choices during the trip.

Speaking of food and beverages, can I just say that Atlanta has the coldest beer I have ever tasted? It was magnificent. (Is this a Southern thing? Or just a smart people thing?). As far as eating, I let myself have free reign. I don't get to go on a lot of trips and I see nothing wrong with going a little crazy. My favorite ballpark food of all time is nachos with lots of jalapeƱos. You better believe we got them at BOTH games. Sue me, I love that fake cheese!

With that said, we really didn't "over-do-it," in my opinion. One of the good things about going on vacation with Nick is that he doesn't like sweets much so we never got dessert. We share things and like to try different foods so that helps!
Lunch at SevenLamps - Everything in Atlanta has paprika on it!

Brunch before we left - Eggs Benedict with Fresh Orange Juice

When in the South, Drink Bourbon. 

Thursday and Friday nights we had tickets to the Reds vs. Braves and lucky for us, there were a lot of Reds fans there! We met so many nice fans of both teams - that's probably why I love the Midwest and the South so much. Everyone is friendly and willing to help each other - they even helped us figure out how to use the MARTA. Yo Cincinnnati - it's time for a better public transport system like every other city!

Nick's Face //Random Pictures of the Field & Stadium

The games were awesome! I don't remember scores and who won because it's more about the experience for me - let's just say, the All-Star break is coming at a perfect time. I just love the excitement of being in the crowd and cheering for our team (aka being obnoxious). Turner Field was an excellent place to watch a game plus we had killer seats (probably because we bought tickets like three months in advance). I would go back in a heartbeat!

Another highlight of the trip was our brief trip to the CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which is headquartered in Atlanta  and located near Emory University. I think we've already established that I'm a big nerd. I love museums, monuments, history, and touristy activities when I go on vacation. That's always how my family has always been. Nick is accustomed to boating on the lake or going to the beach so our experiences and expectations are very different. I need itineraries and plans (aka control) so I had to let go of my type-A, only child behavior and relax.

Working for the CDC is a dream job of mine. I have never really taken this dream seriously because I know how impossible it would be - especially for someone with no research experience at this point (I just don't like it - I want to be in the clinic). Infectious disease has always interested me so I was excited that I convinced Nick to go to their museum!

CDC Signs// Posters for Hand Washing & Small Pox Vaccination
Transmission Electron Microscope//List of Pathogens Examined by Microscope//Machine used for Smallpox Vaccination// Iron Lung

The museum was awfully small but still very interesting. I wanted to see more but I guess that's what the Smithsonian is for...whomp whomp. I also wanted to buy a haz-mat suit (for Halloween - duh) but that's not an option either.

Finally, a few outfit pics.
When will I stop with the crazy eyes? 

Please note, this mirror was surprisingly forgiving. My baby-making hips are like five times wider, I promise. The important part of this is that I'm wearing SHORTS. Aside from my running shorts, I haven't worn colorful summer shorts for a loooong time. I packed these babies thinking they probably wouldn't fit because they were a little too snug to button when I bought them. BAM. They fit! Let the happy dance ensue!

That's all, folks! I'm back and I'm getting lots of work done. Thanks for reading! I have a lot of cool things in the works in the next few weeks so stay tuned (a giveaway or two?).


  1. Sounds like a fun vacation! Glad you're back :)

  2. What a great vacation! I think I may have the same chevron shirt as you, so pretty!

    Working at the CDC would be cool, but depressing, maybe? That's why I'm not a cool Doctor like you. ;)

  3. HOW DID I NOT KNOW THE CDC HAD A MUSEUM?? I stayed at the Emory Hotel right across the street a few years ago and apparently I missed out. Going to remedy that soon. Cold beer is definitely a Southern thing - it's so damn hot here that we drink beer to cool down. (Because who wants water, really?)

  4. Is that my shirt?

  5. I LOVE The Walking Dead too, best show eva! It's prolly a good thing you didn't see any walkers though! ;) Looks like you guys had a great time!

  6. I don't think I've ever been able to eat healthy on vacation. It just won't happen. I would love to visit the south! I've been to New Orleans and loved it, but I also want to go to Savannah

  7. disqus_WYqc6UdbGRJuly 16, 2013 at 6:17 PM

    I think a lot of people trying to lose weight say they can splurge on special events. People create reasons to splurge like: Halloween, football parties, Christmas, birthdays, Valentines Day, Thanksgiving, St. Patrick's Day, Friday, Fourth of July, Graduations, Easter, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Christmas Eve, work parties, anniversary, girl's night out, baby showers, weddings, etc...you get the point. If you splurge every time, there may be a weight problem creeping up. This is why you should try to make your favorite recipes healthy, so you can "have your cake and eat it too". You're spending so much time working hard to exercise, why ruin it on splurging? Don't get me wrong, everyone splurges every now and then, but take it in moderation.

    When I went to a baseball game last week, I browsed the stadium on the hunt to find anything healthy but it was very hard. All the concessions were the typical: hot dogs, pizza, hamburgers, nachos, pretzels, etc (and I'm vegan so you can imagine, even more limited...). I finally found a little stand off by itself that had fresh fruit and corn. I also grabbed a bag of peanuts for protein. Maybe you could try searching for a healthy side next time you visit a sports event? It might take a little extra effort but it pays off :) I also bring along my own packed food or snacks if I know an event won't have anything I can/should eat.

  8. Heather Pretty Strong MedicineJuly 16, 2013 at 7:25 PM

    Ya it's from Old Navy, I think! My mom has it too in two colors. haha

    I'm not a cool Doctor, yet! Idk a lot of medicine is depressing but I guess you learn to cope. At least OB/Gyn is bringing life into the world.

  9. Heather Pretty Strong MedicineJuly 16, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    I didn't know either until I looked at their website! At first I thought they only did group tours but they have a little museum, too! Granted, to get into the campus it was like going through airport security plus border patrol.

    I mean, we have cold beer up north too but this was like blow me over, ice cold. LOVE IT

  10. Heather Pretty Strong MedicineJuly 16, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    No, it's mine!

  11. Heather Pretty Strong MedicineJuly 16, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    Yeah...no walkers! My boyfriend kept asking where Rick and Daryl were at the CDC...dumb!

  12. Heather Pretty Strong MedicineJuly 16, 2013 at 7:30 PM

    I think we all deserve to relax on vacation, especially when we work so hard to be able to go! Let loose a little bit.

    I want to visit those places too! Everytime I go to a new place, I want to move there. haha

  13. Heather Pretty Strong MedicineJuly 16, 2013 at 7:32 PM

    Oh I totally get what you're saying! It's very easy to turn every little event into a party and undo all your hard work. For me, vacation is a little different because I don't get to go new places very often these days (poor student) so I just want to relax and make whatever choices I want.

    I'm still in the "early" stages of eating clean and transforming my diet so I'll definitely take your advice for smaller, less significant events like those you mentioned! I definitely don't need to go for the nachos every time I go to a baseball game or something (which is pretty frequently.) Thanks for the tips!

  14. Jealous of your trip to the CDC. I love medical history stuff!

    Those outfits look super cute on you. Those are the perfect shorts. It's hard to find ones that aren't too short!


  15. Looks like a super fun trip! The south is always such a beautiful place to go!
    Also, Columbus has horrible public transit also, must be an Ohio thing for sure.