Sunday, December 27, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I flew to Pensacola for a few days for my yearly visit to the Smiths and had a wonderful time. I got to spend some time with Katie Beth on Sunday and spent Monday with Jess, Clint & Brady in Cantonment. We had a great time, despite the little cold bug I picked up along the way (I sound like a man;). Brady boy is growing like crazy! He'll be 3 in March, but he's already so tall!! Here's a pic of Brady, me and Bo-Bo, and the lego school bus we got B for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


We were in New Orleans this weekend for Val and Davey's wedding. It was the first time for both of us, and just a quick trip (in Saturday/out Sunday), so in spite of the crappy weather, we of course we hit the Cafe du Monde, Central Grocery and Jackson Square.

The wedding was Saturday night and it was a traditional New Orleans wedding - complete with a visit by the Mardi Gras Indians! Loved it :)

On Sunday we braved the muggy drizzle and did a frommer's walking tour of the historic french quarter and a traditional jazz brunch before heading back to the airport...

... where we ended up sitting for about 4 hours waiting for a seat on a flight back to Atlanta. But we made it and all in all it was a good trip!

Friday, October 23, 2009


This year's Annual Meeting (for Mary's company) was in Philadelphia; and while Mary had to work most of the time, Shannon came up for the weekend and was able to do a little sightseeing... hurrah!

Here's the highlights:
  • liberty bell
  • independence hall
  • u.s. federal reserve
  • e's alley
  • philadelphia museum of art
  • rocky statue & steps
  • city hall
  • love park
  • south philly - bridget foy's & jim's steaks

Mary enjoyed a delicious philly cheesesteak at jim's - thanks KP for the insider tip ;)

It seems Mary was a good luck charm of sorts as the Phillies won the NL championship while she was in town - now they're on to the world series! Yeah!!! Go Phillies - We were hoping for a showdown with the yankees, but we'll just have to see.

All in all, a good trip and a good meeting, but after being away for so long we both agree - there's just no place like home! :)

We've prepared the fabulous photo slideshow below to give you the highlights from our trip.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Mary had a Board meeting this weekend hosted by her Board President in Lexington. It's a tradition that on the President's outgoing year, they host in their hometown for the last meeting of their term. Leslie planned a wonderful weekend of fun Kentucky activities in between the meetings, and everyone had a fabulous time. It was just a perfect, gorgeous southern weekend!

On Friday we flew into Lexington and were out of the airport and on the road in no time. Very convenient, efficient airport! We checked in to the Inn at the Historic Shaker Village in Harrodsburg and had a lovely lunch at the restaurant there. After the meetings were over, we all loaded up onto the big bus and drove out to the Woodford Reserve Distillery in Versailles. Our tour guide was awesome - very knowledgeable and VERY enthusiastic. He explained the fermentation and distilling processes and every step in between, including the barrel-making (they make their own and even sell to other distilleries). We even got to taste a batch as it was fermenting - very yeasty but good. Then we got to taste the real thing and enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the distillery, complete with derby pie for dessert and of course an old fashioned :)

On Saturday, after meetings, we went on a tour of a thoroughbred horse farm and met some multi-million dollar stallions with stud fees ranging from $75,000 to half a million! Then we had a lovely dinner on a riverboat, the Dixie Belle, along the Kentucky River. On Sunday we enjoyed a walk through the wildflowers and a wonderful southern supper before heading back to the airport.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Thanks to the Varnells for another wonderful weekend at their cabin! Canoeing, swimming, grilling and sunbathing... doesn't get much better than that :)

Saturday, July 4, 2009


We were fortunate enough to spend June 25 - July 2 in beautiful San Diego, CA. Mary had her annual investigators meeting there, and we stayed a few days extra just for fun.

June 25 - June 29 = Meetings, meetings, meetings. But we enjoyed the company of Mary's co-workers and several great dinners together. And being in beautiful Mission Bay we enjoyed morning runs along the marina, evening walks to the beach and bunny sightings galore!

June 30 - Vacation begins! Day 1, we enjoyed a lovely morning in Mission Bay, after settling the great coffee debacle with the crappy in-room machine, we picked up the rental car (all they had left in mid-sized was a PT Cruiser, ha!) then trekked over to see the bunnies, only to find that in mid-morning just one brave bunny was out of the brush.

We drove out to Coronado and took the long way through Silver Strand, which was just lovely! We had a delicious picnic lunch on the beach, be-friended a seagull, and then toured the historic Hotel del Coronado. The movie 'Some Like it Hot,' starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon was filmed here in the 50s. Mary even recreated the famous photo of Marilyn on the beach ;)

We spent some time on the beach in Coronado watching the kids play in the surf, but after dipping a toe into the frigid 60 degree waters, opted for sunning and no swimming ;) After we'd had our fill of beach time, we drove out to Point Loma to see the lighthouse and the Cabrillo National Monument. It was a great view from up there.

Then we made our way to the Gliderport at Torrey Pines. It was getting late, but there were still a handful of paragliders out so we got quite a show. Then we turned our attention to the beach below, known as Black's Beach, but part of the Torrey Pines State Beach. We later found out that it's the last nude beach in San Diego - which explains why we saw so many 'nakes' on the beach below. Tee hee. The view from the top of the cliffs there was just amazing. We took plenty of photos, including this great one:

After dinner at the In'n Out Burger (Mary's first time!), we called it a night.

July 1 - We drove out to La Jolla for sea kayaking and a tour of the seven caves. We were on the 1:30 trip, so we had plenty of time to check out the beaches in la jolla cove first. We got to see the seals at the children's pool and bird rock and the tide pools - so fun. Then we headed over to La Jolla Kayak for our trip, met our group and guide and headed out. We had a waterproof camera for our trip so we got to take some pictures while we were out on the boat and it was great!!! Jess, our guide, explained the points of interest along the coastline and the history of the seven caves, as well as info on the marine life - from the black diving birds to the garabaldi fish and leopard sharks and of course - our favorite - the sea lions!!! We got to venture into a coupe of the caves, which was very cool. After our tour we grabbed some lunch and headed back to Encinitas to meet Matt so the boys could do a little surfing. They had a decent afternoon on the waves and we drove to Oceanside to meet Papa Joe for dinner.

July 2 - We loved La Jolla so much we went back for a second day! We were supposed to go to the zoo but were just too taken with the caves ;) We took the waterproof camera, gathered our nerves, and jumped in! We swam into the caves and got to see a ton of garabaldi fish. We had a great time and spent the rest of the afternoon walking the gorgeous beaches in La Jolla. We had dinner in Old Town and spent a quiet night in the hotel watching movies and snuggling after a cold day in the water!

July 3 - Homeward bound! We took an early morning flight and picked up the chi baby, who was soooo happy to see us again! ;)

You can see pics of our adventures here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


We were in Pensacola this weekend for Mary's 10-year high school reunion and it was a fun time catching up with old friends and family. We stayed with Uncle Chuck and Aunt Jan on the farm, and it was so much fun!

As for the reunion, Friday night was the 'Meet and Greet' at the Fish House. It was a little smoky, a lot crowded, but still a fun night. It was great catching up with everyone and seeing who's changed - and who hasn't ;) There was talk of an ice sculpture so we made our way across the deck to where a crowd was gathered, only to find random strangers doing shots off it as an ice luge - hilarious. Uncle Chuck keeps 'the playful seas' at the marina there and had quite the commentary on the aftermath left behind ;)

On Saturday, we got the full tour of the farm, from feeding the catfish to herding the sheep and touring the less developed parts of the land ;) Jess and Brady came by and we played in the pool the rest of the afternoon and took Brady to see the fish and chickens and of course the baby chicks! Saturday night was the formal at Seville. They made nametags for everyone with our senior portraits which made it WAY easier to keep up with who's who ;) We had so much fun hanging out with everyone, and Lindsay got voted 'Queen.' Fun times!

On Sunday, Uncle Chuck took us out on the boat and we caught some delicious red snapper - yum! All in all, a totally awesome weekend vacay in the cola. Hurrah!

Saturday, May 30, 2009


We took a road trip to beautiful Asheville, NC for the GSAE meeting this week and had a wonderful time! We took Riley along, and she just loved it too! The opening reception was at the beautitful, historic Grove Park Inn. Check out this great article about the hotel. It is a magical place! The meeting kicked off Thursday morning, and Mary had sessions during the day so Shannon and Riley explored downtown and Shannon checked out the great Antique Car Museum and galleries at the gorgeous Grove Park Inn. He made some new friends at the museum so he took Mary and Riley back after the meeting ended Friday. The guys at the museum have befriended some local squirrells and feed them peanuts in the open doorway - the squirrells will come right up and eat out of your hand!! Check out this great video of Mary feeding a squirrell:

The trip was wonderful, the views amazing and we can't wait to go back to Asheville again soon! You can see pictures from our trip here. Enjoy!

Monday, May 25, 2009


We spent Memorial Day weekend on the beautiful beaches of Fort Morgan, AL and had a WONDERFUL time! We got plenty of sun and sand, and Fort Morgan is dog-friendly, so Riley got to join in on the fun too. Her favorite was crabbing at night - too funny! You can see videos of her in action on - just search riley chihuahua.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I (Mary) had meetings in DC this weekend, and Shannon had never been, so he came along and got to enjoy some of the sights and attractions in our nation's beautiful capitol. I was fortunate enough to actually have some free time this weekend, so we got to tour the mall and monuments and even a couple museums together. We had a really great time, even if it was just a short trip. Shannon got to see the National Air & Space Museum, which he's been wanting to visit, so that was awesome -- He got to see (and touch!) the Rutan Voyager. There were placards everywhere noting items that were featured in the new Night at the Museum movie, and some sections were roped off for the camera crews and stars to do interviews. We'll have to check it out!

Friday, May 1, 2009


Just a quick in-and-out one day meeting in Dallas. Great group, great meeting, and an EXCELLENT dinner at the Charlie Palmer at the Joulle. Their wine list is electronic, and it's v. impressive. You can scan through the 700+ wines by varietal, vintage or region. So. Cool.

If you're ever in Dallas, I'd highly recommend a meal at CP's. You can read more here.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Another work trip... just a quick in-and-out to Chicago for a Board meeting. But did enjoy some great blues Friday night at Blues Chicago. If you're ever in the windy city, check 'em out!

Friday, April 10, 2009


M. flew to Birmingham this weekend to take part in Liz's senior prom festivities. As you can see, she looked just beautiful and had a wonderful time!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Strange weather, good meeting, and GREAT food - Tom Colicchio's Craft Dallas was DEFINITELY the highlight of my most recent Dallas trip!

Sunday, March 8, 2009


toronto trolling trip re-cap!

I (Mary) went to visit Harleen and Navneet in Toronto this weekend and had a fabu trolling time!

I arrived Friday and we enjoyed a lovely dinner in little italy followed by drinks and crepes at i feel like crepe. It was like so yum. I heart crepes so much, and these totally lived up to my parisienne expectations - and the martinis weren't bad either ;)
Then it was time for a lively game o'scrabble, where Nav whooped us girls. He was all appletinis and triple word scores. Dang.

Saturday morning it was just us girls so we trolled around for awhile and snuggled on the trollcouch and looked at many many gorgeous wedding pictures. I may or may not have also begun a whole 'nutha level of the organization process of said wedding photos for printing... We decided we should probably trek into the outside world at some point, even though it was a bit drizzly. We braved it and had a romantic fireside lunch at magic oven. Yummy yummy spinach dip and oven-baked wraps, followed of course by coffee and tea at timmy's. Lovely afternoon, right? As you can see I basically ate my way through the city ;)

After tea time the rain had picked up so we decided to retreat to the warmth of the troll bed once again and watched red, white and brown. Russell Peters is so funny. Ha a ha ha ha ha. And so wrong. Guilt ensued. Heeee. Then Nav came home and guilted us out of the house. But we went to Pacific Mall and were old ladies and it was awesome. I got this fabu tea cup and am super psyched about it.

We picked Nav up and on our way to a lovely sushi dinner, we passed a production filming on a side street. We couldn't see the actors so weren't too interested, but upon my return to the states I learned that the new TWILIGHT movie is filming in T.O! Unnnn-belieeeevable! Don't tell Liz.

After dinner we watched Vicky Cristina Barcelona, which I loooved. It made me want to go to Barcelona sooo bad! It's moved up on the list for sure :) After movie I watched daylight saving time time happen before my very eyes. The clock went from 1:59 am to 3:00 am. Fascinating. Then it was bedtime, sleeping-in time, and then yummy yummy brunch at Fran's. Looooved it. Then it was take-your-troll-to-the-airport-time, and I was home sweet home by 6 pm!

Yayyyy! Thanks for being such awesome fun hosts and next up - Georgian Bay!

Monday, February 23, 2009


I (Shannon) spent the weekend in Huntsville sailing with Nathan on his new boat!

Nathan has had the boat for about six months. It is a 1980 or 82?, 30 foot Catalina with an inboard diesel. Like most vehicles of its age (or older) it has little things here and there that give it character and need tinkering but over all it is pretty sweet. Nathan bought it in not so working order. It was in decent shape but the previous owner had driven it under a bridge that did not have enough clearance and broke some support wires, twisted the mast and made it not sailable. That was about two years ago and the boat had been sitting since then when Nathan bought it back in September of 08. Since then Nathan has been doing work here and there and getting it sea worthy again.

This was my first time to ever ride, drive, or "crew" a sailboat. I have always figured I would like it because there are lots of similarities and things that carry over from airplane, sailplanes, and gliders which is something else that interests me a lot. There is something very cool about "harnessing nature" or working with the conditions to get something for nothing. Yep, those are my Hippy roots coming out ;) as Mary would say.

Mary was gone to Birmingham for the weekend and the forecast was looking good for sailing so I flew up to Huntsville Friday night. We spent both Friday and Saturday night on the boat

Monday, January 5, 2009


Viva la france! We spent New Year's in Paris and had a WONDERFUL time in the city of lights. We took plenty of pictures, and you can check them out here. Here's a recap of our trip:

Our flight in on New Year's Eve was delayed, so we only had a few hours of daylight to check out Notre Dame. We did make it in time for the last showing of 'Lumen de Lumine' of the year, which was beautiful. It's
an audiovisual show projected on a large transparent screen over 100 m² stretched across the altar. Presented for everyone, this is a presentation about the Mystery of Christmas with the liturgy of the Nativity and great works of art: painting, sculpture, architecture, icons, stained glass....all shown with background music from the grand organ of the cathedral and the choir of the Notre-Dame de Paris.... translated from l'officiel des spectacles magazine.

After that we did a walking tour of historic Paris through Saint Chappelle and the Latin Quarter and ate some delicious mediterranean food. Afterwards we stopped in at the monoprix and picked up some snacks and champagne for New Year's Eve on the Champs d'Elysees. We took the metro to the Arc de Triomphe, and the whole Champs d'Elysees was just gorgeous with all the trees lit up all the way down the avenue to the ferris wheel. We walked down the avenue through the massive crowds and ended up in the middle of it all at the stroke of midnight. We toasted 'Bonne Annes!' and enjoyed the festivities there before calling it a night, er, morning.

After our long day of traveling and ringing in 2009 until the wee morning hours, we slept in on Thursday and then headed straight to the Eiffel Tower where we spent many hours taking in the gorgeous view from the Champs de Mars. We stayed until dusk and when the sun went down the tower lit up a beautiful golden color and then every hour on the hour all night long it would burst into a shimmering display of glittering blue lights. We took a video to share with you all, because pictures don't do it justice:

After we got our fill of the tower, we did another walking tour - this time of the River Seine bridges. Each bridge is different and there's one every block or so. They're all so beautiful. You'll see plenty of pictures of them in our album. We had a romantic dinner at Chez Clement Marbouef off the Champs d'Elysees and enjoyed delicious frommages and of course canard l'orange and creme broulee!! It was sooo yummy and we absolutely recommend this restaurant - they have multiple locations, excellent service and delicious food. They even have english menus but it's not a tourist joint.

On Friday we woke up to a blanket of snow outside our balcony and headed back to Notre Dame so we could see it in the daylight and climb the tower. Unfortunately the towers were still closed because of the weather, but we did enjoy
taking in the beautiful detailed facade and the stained glass windows. The Latin Quarter ended up being our favorite area so we spent most of the morning there and enjoyed delicious crepes from a street vendor. They made them right in front of us and we ate them piping hot - sooo good. After a picnic lunch of baguette au pate, we headed to the Louvre to wrap up our Paris adventure. We spent some time walking around outside and through the jardin tuilleres and then headed inside the museum for the long haul :) . We listened to a great podcast by Rick Steves which you can download free here if you're interested. After the louvre, we walked down Rue St. Honore and had dinner at a great cafe near the Place de Concorde.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip and we fell in love with the city of lights. It was a beautiful romantic city and very tourist-friendly. We had no problems navigating the city streets or metro and everyone we encountered was friendly and helpful. We used our few key french phrases like champs!