After The Party It’s The Waffle House: Feeling Grateful In The ATL

Thanksgiving hasn’t traditionally been a holiday which I enjoy. This is due to the cruel pageantry of carving the splayed, forever silenced turkey, coupled with the disturbing biological warfare undertones surrounding the day. But a recent work trip to Atlanta reminded me of how much I have to be ~grateful~ for this holiday szn.

  1. Family

Perhaps the highlight of my trip was getting to visit my cute twin cousins who live in the suburbs of Atlanta.

I love family members who you can not see for months or even years, and then pick up right where you left off! My cousin Kelly used to babysit me when she was around my current age and I was a preschooler. Now, she has kids of her own around the same age I was when she used to pack me in her yellow Volkswagen Beetle for downtown Westport shopping sessions and elaborate arts and crafts projects. She is the reason I became a vegetarian (slash vegan-ish) and perhaps my interest in working in media germinated from her bringing me to the animation studio she worked at too (apparently, I’ve had savvy computer and editing skills since ’94).

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It was great to spend an evening catching up in Kelly and Rod’s beautiful home, surrounded by ~young people~ performing enthusiastic hip hop routines (which hopefully you caught via my InstaStory). #dothestankyleg

P.S. I’m also grateful for my immediate family, who sent me lots of texts and supportive messages while I was traveling.  And took this pre-flight pic for the ‘gram. Thanks, y’all.

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[Wearing a Thakoon Addition sweater coat which I HIGHLY recommend for flights and meetings because it’s a business professional way to essentially embalm yourself in coziness even when your soul is dead due to lack of sleep]

2) Health

Admittedly, I participated far less in healthy activities than I had originally intended. I missed several Classpass-scheduled rowing and cycling workouts due to sheer laziness or poor traffic planning. However, I did hit up the hotel gym and make it to one Classpass studio, Inspire Health. Since I haven’t been working out as aggressively as usual, I opted for a 60-minute Reformer class, which can be challenging at times but isn’t quite the unyielding torture of a Megaformer. It ended up being a private class since no one else showed up for the morning session. Privates are usually $85-95 per hour depending on who teaches, so this was a great deal!

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[Making the carriage my bitch, like I’m a Victorian-era transportation expert]

The instructor was nice and chill, though pretty quiet. Typically I like to make a personal connection with a trainer, especially for a 1-on-1, but since it was early in the morning, it  was nice to work out mostly in silence. The studio itself was pristine and spacious, with appealing second floor, floor-to-ceiling glass views of Buckhead. Best of all, it was steps away from Whole Foods, the perfect post-Pilates breakfast spot.

3) Carbs

For the last two or three months, I’ve adhered to a fairly stringent diet plan, eating 1,200 net calories every day,  which I’ve dutifully logged into My Fitness Pal. I’ve also been pretty good about only eating vegan foods. Both of these tenets were significantly compromised during this trip, to the delight of my stomach and dread of my scale/morals.

This Dante-esque dietary fall from grace began at a restaurant appropriately named St. Cecilia. Frequented by lots of finance ~zaddies~ and the ladies who love them, it is an airy and aesthetic space in central Buckhead with a truly tempting array of Italian indulgences.

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I couldn’t decide between two pastas, so the waitress surprised me and sent out both (with one of them ~compliments of the chef~ aka free), which was thoughtful and much appreciated! Accordingly, I can’t say which I would recommend more, the San Marzano speckled spaghetti or the simple yet savory cacio e pepe. If I were to go back, I would likely consider ordering both again, or at least, cajoling my dining companion into ordering the other one.

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Another devilishly delicious meal occurred at Bellina, in the Ponce City Market. Ponce City Market is a hybrid of Chelsea Market and the Chelsea Piers, if they were located inside of a gorgeous old factory building in Atlanta’s semi-gentrified Old Fourth Ward neighborhood on the outskirts of downtown.

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The bottom floors feature nearly every type of cuisine you can think of. We selected Bellina for its lively bar scene, ideal for people watching and surreptitiously shooting B-roll. That said, we also really enjoyed our charismatic waiter and comfort food. After going months without wholeheartedly embracing carbs, I was feeling some type of way about classic pasta, so I ordered the spaghetti again. This time it was complemented by several glasses of their housemate pomegranate soda and a spread of bread and olives. I must’ve been emitting good vibes or something, because again they sent out free food; this time, the perennial favorite tiramisu.

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Once we were done utterly gorging ourselves, we took a very cool (and somewhat creepy) freight elevator to the rooftop of Ponce City Market. From this vantage point, one can admire the downtown/Buckhead skylines at the beer garden, play a few rounds of whimsically themed mini golf, or indulge your inner child with some throwback carnival games and rides. As I propelled my body down the giant slide, laughing as I cascaded over every hump and bump, the city of Atlanta spread beneath me like a brand new game ready to be played and won. It was impossible to feel anything but thankful.

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