Holiday Closing Alert: All Georgia's Own branches will be closed on Monday, May 25th for Memorial Day.
10 interesting facts about the 4th of July
Each year families and friends get together to celebrate one of the most festive holidays in America: the 4th of July. Beautiful, bright fireworks will light up the night sky, and parades will be held. Americans will consume more than 150 million hot dogs, enough to stretch from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles more than five times! There are many things about July 4th that people don’t know. Want to look like the smart one at the barbecue? Check out these 10 interesting facts:
- Anyone ever asked for your “John Hancock?” Well, John Hancock was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
- Speaking of John Hancock, did you know that only he and Charles Thomson actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776? The Declaration of Independence was not signed by most of the Second Continental Congress until August 2nd, not even in the month of July.
- The U.S. is not the only country to celebrate this day; the Philippines and Rwanda both celebrate their independence on July 4th, though not related to American history.
- One of the first states to celebrate Independence Day was Massachusetts, recognizing the 4th of July in 1781.
- Strangely, on the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, former Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams both died on July 4, 1826, within hours of each other. President James Monroe died July 4, 1831. President Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4, 1872.
- The melody of “The Star-Spangled Banner” was originally used in an English song called “To Anacreon in Heaven,” used by the Anacreontic Society, a gentlemen’s club of amateur musicians in London.
- The American flag has changed over the years. The stars on the original American flag were in a circle so all the colonies would appear equal.
- George Washington, John Lay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison are typically considered Founding Fathers, but none of them signed the Declaration of Independence.
- It’s not Denmark’s day of independence, but this U.S. holiday is celebrated in Denmark. Traditionally, thousands of expatriates living in Denmark would gather at military bases and tourist bars to celebrate as early as 1911.
- The first week of July is the busiest travel week of the year in the United States. Most would think the Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday week might be the busiest. Nope.
Have an interesting 4th of July fact? Drop it in the comments below!
Resources: mentalfloss.com, nydailynews.com
Things to do this Spring in Atlanta
Spring in Atlanta is always a great time of year—well, minus the pollen count. Atlanta offers a wide variety of indoor and outdoor activities for people of all ages. There’s never a dull moment in the best city of the South. Okay, maybe we’re a little biased, but with everything from spring festivals to museums to outdoor concerts to the staple tourist attractions, Atlanta makes planning your springtime fun effortless and exciting.
If you’re looking for something to do for spring break with the kids or just want to get out and enjoy the city, Atlanta has it covered. One growing and popular idea is a “staycation.” A staycation is sort of like a vacation, except you book lodging at or near your home and enjoy the city attractions, or just appreciate the time away from home in a different environment. Make time to enjoy all the greatness of Atlanta and take a break from the everyday routine.
Below are a few great events and venues to check out:
Popular tourist attractions
- CNN Studio Tours
- The National Center for Civil and Human Rights
- Zoo Atlanta
- Georgia Aquarium
- The King Center
- The World of Coca-Cola
- College Football Hall of Fame
- Atlanta Jazz Festival
- Wine Festival
- Atlanta Film Festival
- Georgia Renaissance Festival
- Atlanta Caribbean Festival
- High Museum of Art
- Fernbank Museum of Natural History
- Atlanta History Center
- Children’s Museum of Atlanta
Outdoor concert venues
- Chastain Amphitheater
- Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
- Aaron’s Amphitheater at Lakewood
Parks & outdoor recreation
- Centennial Olympic Park
- Atlanta Botanical Garden
- Piedmont Park
- The Atlanta Beltline
- Woodruff Park
If traffic is a concern, which it typically is, and you want to get around quickly and easily, just hop on a MARTA train or bus to make life easier (and save on parking!). For more resources and ideas on springtime fun in Atlanta or things to do no matter the season, visit atlanta.net/things-to-do.
What’s your favorite springtime activity in Atlanta? Let us know in the comments!
Super fun and simple party ideas for your Super Bowl celebration
ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?
The Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots will face off in Super Bowl LIII on Sunday, February 3, 2019. Whether you’re a die-hard football fan or just in it for the commercials, watching the Super Bowl is an American tradition.
If you’re not lucky enough to be headed to Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, you should be planning an awesome party. Kickoff is 6:30 p.m., but the pre-game programs begin as early at 11:30 a.m. So, how do you keep the party going strong all night long? Whether it’s a house full of adults or you’re huddling up with the kids, here are some fun activities that’ll keep them around ‘til the end of the game.
Just some friendly competition
Love or hate the commercials, this twist on the classic BINGO game will have your guests glued to the television and begging to see just one more Geico advertisement.
This Super Bowl Pick ‘Em game will quickly even the playing field. Whether you’re a professional fan with a lifetime of game watching experience or you’re a rookie who only came for the hot wings, your best guess is as good as the next guy’s.
You may think that this mascot matching game is just for the kids, but we bet it would challenge some adults, too. Either way, everyone will be entertained with this Super Bowl word scramble and word search, but the real challenge is in football charades!
Tackle their appetites
Part of the fun is the party décor, so be creative. These penalty flags are genius, and football-themed water bottle labels and mason jars are pretty clever, too. If you’re crafty, this football field table cover is our fave.
When it comes to your game day menu, the self-serve chili bar is a real crowd pleaser. Step up your snack game with pigskins in a blanket, Patriots popcorn, or any of these easy tailgating treats, and it might encourage some excessive celebration. But if you’re looking for something to satisfy your sweet-tooth fans, check out these chocolate and peanut butter footballs for the win.
No matter which team takes the championship, a party like this could earn you your own Super Bowl ring. Just be a good sport, have fun, and make sure everyone plays by the rules.
20 Fun Things To Do This Winter in and around Atlanta
Brrr, it’s cold outside, but that doesn’t mean you have to watch Netflix all winter! The cooler weather is an invitation to a new bunch of new events, festivals, and fun activities you can enjoy with or without the fam. So bundle up, ‘cause there are people to see and things to do! Here are just a few:
Chinese Acrobats of Hebei (January 24)
This is a “must see” production that combines Chinese traditions, incredible acrobatics, stunning costumes, Chinese props, and a beautiful music soundtrack. Acrobats of Hebei China are a rigorously trained, superbly skilled and highly accomplished acrobatic troupe who have entertained the world by performing an awe-inspiring spectacle that is guaranteed to leave you amazed.
Groundhog Day Jugglers Festival (January 25-27)
The Atlanta Jugglers Association is a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate, entertain, enlighten and inspire through the art and skill of juggling. They host an annual festival in February, a 3-day extravaganza featuring the finest jugglers in the Southeast, and often in the country, as well as unicyclists, hoopers, and live music. Admission is free.
The Great American Motorcycle Show (January 26-27)
Featuring motorcycles, accessories, and southern rock music, the show is held at Cobb Galleria Center. It’s Georgia’s biggest indoor bike show and features new motorcycles brought to you by Georgia’s leading dealers. Come see foreign and domestic motorcycles, one of a kind custom bikes, cruisers, sport bikes, choppers, trikes, and touring bikes. This is your chance to see what’s new in the market and talk with the pros.
Frozen 5K/Snowflake 1K (January 27)
You may not be headed to Disney, but that doesn’t mean you can’t dress like Olaf or Elsa. The Frozen 5K/Snowflake 1K is guaranteed to be some frozen fun for the entire family, and if you dress like your favorite fairy tale character, you might even win a cool prize!
TopGolf Winter Golf League (January 28 – March 26)
Whether rain, or snow, or sleet, or hail, …you can still golf at TopGolf, sometimes ‘til 2 a.m. Covered bays and heaters for cooler days make it comfortable, even in the winter. If you’re looking for some weekly fun and a little friendly competition, consider joining a league. It’s six weeks of regular season play and two weeks of playoffs. You might just be the next TopGolf MVG!
Pre Super Bowl Luncheon (January 31)
Want to see the Vince Lombardi trophy up close and personal? Join the ATL and NFL community to honor Atlanta-based individuals and companies who are leading the fight against cancer. You’ll watch an awards ceremony, enjoy a plated lunch at the Leaders For a Cure Luncheon in the College Football Hall of Fame, and yes, you can say “cheese” with the trophy!
Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds (February 1-24)
Featuring the timeless music and lyrics of Bob Marley, and based on the children’s book by his daughter, Three Little Birds features a boy who wants to enjoy his beautiful island in the sun, but needs help from the animals to overcome his fear of evil spirits, tropical storms, and bandits, at Synchronicity Theatre. Fun for the whole family!
Waitress, The Musical at the Fox Theatre (February 5-6)
Waitress, The Musical was inspired by the popular 2007 film, Waitress. It’s a Broadway musical baked from the heart. Jenna Hunterson is a pie maker stuck in a small town and a loveless marriage who must summon strength and courage to rebuild her life. Music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles. Hurry, tickets are going fast!
North Atlanta Home Show (February 8-10)
Mark your calendars for the North Atlanta Home Show at Infinite Energy Center. More than 150 companies will be there to display the latest home improvement products and services. Innovative products and hundreds of experts all under one roof! Not only will you get practical advice and great deals, you’ll also hear decorating secrets from insiders John Loecke and Jason Oliver Nixon of Madcap Cottage!
With or Without You 5K/1K (February 9)
Turn up the heat with a couple’s run, or maybe just mingle with other singles during the With or Without You 5K/1K. All finishers get chocolates and a heart-shaped medal, and if you’re married, an ordained minister will be there so you can renew your vows. “I take thee, all sweaty and out of breath”…now that’s romantic.
Atlanta Chinese New Year Festival (February 9-10)
If you’re looking for a little more culture in your life, check out the Chinese Lunar New Year Festival. 2019 is the year of the Pig, so come celebrate and enjoy authentic cuisine, art exhibits, traditional folk songs, and of course, the beautifully performed Lion & Dragon Dance.
Mardi Gras in Alpharetta (February 13)
In celebration of Fat Tuesday, Avalon will host its fourth annual Mardi Gras celebration! Avalon Boulevard will be transformed into a suburban version of Bourbon Street with live music and New-Orleans-style food and drink for sale. Break out your best purple, green and gold, grab some beads, and kick back at the Big Easy bash.
Snow Mountain (Now through February 24)
It’s a must for snow-deprived southerners. Atlanta’s favorite winter wonderland has a 400-foot snow-covered tubing hill and an enormous snow-filled play area. You can build a snowman in the Snow Zone, race down the slopes on the on Tube Runners, or careen down the hills in family-sized tubes on Avalanche Alley. It’s action-packed excitement and fun!
Lace up Your Skates (Now through February 24)
Ice rinks are super popular around the holidays, but several are still open into February. Practice your double axel or that triple salchow at seasonal rinks like The Ice Rink at Sugar Hill (through February 10) or the Olde Town On Ice at Conyers Pavilion (through February 24). There are always indoor rinks, too, which are open year-round, like The Cooler in Alpharetta or the Marieta Ice Center.
Get ready for the Oscars (Now through February 24)
January and February is prime Oscar season, so if you want to voice an educated opinion on this year’s nominees, spend some time in the movie theatre. Whether it’s for the reclining seats, online ticket and seat selection, or epic food, choose one of these top 7 movie theatres in Atlanta and get ready to cast your vote!
Monster Jam (February 23 – 24)
Don’t pass up the chance to see these big trucks with big wheels make big noise and excitement at Monster Jam at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Opt for the Pit Party and you can see the trucks up close, take pictures, meet the drivers and get their autographs, too!
Italy and Wine Food Festival (February 24)
The Discover Italy and Wine Food Festival is a culinary tribute to the world’s wine region. This walk-around style event at Vino Venue, located in Dunwoody, includes unlimited tastings of wine from most of the 20 sub-regions of Italy and samplings of Italian foods like hand-made pastas, salami, cheeses, breads, even olive oils. Mangia!
Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 (February 24)
One of racing’s most storied venues hosts 500 miles of edge-of-the-seat action when the sport’s biggest names visit Atlanta in 2018 for the running of the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500! See the blazing hot driving talent of drivers like Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney go for the win against champions like Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, and Brad Keselowski. Gentlemen, start your engines!
Sleep Under the Sea (select dates)
The Georgia Aquarium gives new meaning to sleeping with the fishes. Whether you book it for two or for your entire family, you can spend the evening learning about the underwater world and falling asleep in front of one of their magnificent gallery windows. How often do you get to be awoken by the soft songs of a whale in the morning?
See a Concert (select dates)
You might have to brave the cold weather to get there, but the hottest names in music will warm you up fast! Cher, The Foo Fighters, Georg Strait, Michael Buble, Francine Reed, Whiz Khalifa, Mariah Carey, and Jimmy Buffett…there’s something for everyone.
Kids in the Kitchen: Fun holiday recipes to try with your little ones.
Holiday baking is a time-honored tradition that makes those festive winter months just a little more special. Cooking with kids, whether they’re sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, or just some friendly next-door neighbors, can be a treasured time together. Go ahead–make some memories and then feast on these deliciously decadent holiday treats.
Compliments of In the Kids Kitchen
- 1 package of Double-Stuffed Oreos
- 1 box of M&M’s
- 2 bags of Ghiradelli white chocolate melting wafers
- 1 package of small edible eyes
- 1 cookie sheet fitted with parchment paper or a non-stick silicone baking mat
- Using a double boiler, melt one bag of white chocolate wafers. Adults should do this step. (Note: You can also melt in a microwave safe bowl, but only heat for 20 seconds at a time, stirring in between. Handle bowl carefully as it may be hot).
- Gently pull apart the Oreos, making sure that the cream stays on one half of the cookie.
- Lightly press two yellow M&M’s into the cream, so that half of each M&M sticks out of the cookie. These will be the “ears,” so you want to place them at what will be the top of your Polar Bear cookies, about one finger width apart.
- Place the other half of the Oreo cookie back on top and slowly dip the top half into the melted chocolate.
- Lightly shake the cookie to get excess chocolate off and place onto the cookie sheet.
- Repeat steps with all remaining cookies.
- Place cookies into the fridge for 10 minutes to harden before continuing.
- Place the Oreo cookie into the melted chocolate.
- Using a fork, lightly flip the Oreo cookie so that both sides are evenly coated.
- Lightly tap the side of the pot to remove the excess chocolate.
- Place Oreo cookie onto the cookie sheet and repeat step with remaining cookies.
- Place a non-melted white chocolate wafer onto the lower part of the cookie to make the nose. Then, put a dab of melted white chocolate onto the letter side of a blue M&M and press onto the white chocolate wafer.
- Use melted white chocolate to attach two eyes to the cookie, above the nose.
- Allow cookies to dry for 30 minutes before enjoying.
Compliments of Kitchen Fun With My Three Sons
- 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 tsp. Vanilla
- 2 large Eggs
- 1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
- 1/3 cup Cocoa Powder
- 1/4 tsp. Salt
- 1/2 cup Flour
- Edible Candy Eyes
- Red M&M’s
- Chocolate Cookie Icing
- Pretzel Twists
- Round scone dish
- In a large bowl, mix oil and sugar until well blended
- Add eggs and vanilla; stir until blended.
- In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients.
- Stir dry ingredients into the oil/sugar mixture.
- Pour the mix into the round scone dish until it’s about 3/4 full.
- Bake about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Poke the broken pretzel twists in each side of the top of each of the brownie slices.
- Add a dot of chocolate icing where the eyes and nose will be placed.
- Gently press the edible eyes and the M&M nose in place.
Compliments of Averie Cooks
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 18 Oreo cookies, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup M&M’s (red and green)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.
- In a large, microwave-safe bowl add the butter and heat to melt, about 1 minute on high power.
- Wait momentarily before adding the egg so you don’t scramble it. Add the egg, brown sugar, vanilla, and whisk until smooth.
- Add the flour, salt, and stir until just combined; don’t over mix.
- Add the Oreos and stir to combine.
- Add the M&M’s and stir to combine.
- Turn the batter out into prepared pan, smoothing it lightly with a spatula and pushing it into the corners. Tip – Strategically place a few Oreos and M&Ms on top for visual appeal.
- Bake for about 18 to 21 minutes, or until top is set in center and done; don’t over bake. Bars firm up as they cool. A toothpick test is a bit tricky because there aren’t many bare batches, but if you hit a patch of just dough, the toothpick should come out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter.
- Place pan on a wire rack to cool for at least 90 minutes before slicing and serving. Bars will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Compliments of Mom on Time Out
- 20 pretzel rods
- 1 – 11 ounce bag caramels, unwrapped
- 1 teaspoon water
- 1 – 16 ounce package Candiquik chocolate candy coating
- Assorted sprinkles
- Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place caramels and water together in microwave safe container. Heat in microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until caramel is fully melted and smooth.
- Pour into a canning jar for easy dipping. Let cool for five minutes.
- Carefully dip pretzel rod into caramel leaving two inches at the end free for the handle. Gently tap off extra caramel.
- Use a silicone spatula to smooth if needed. Place on parchment paper.
- Repeat until all pretzels are coated with caramel. If you notice the caramel puddles under the pretzel, use less caramel next time. The caramel will stick to the parchment paper until it is completely set. Once set, it will easily release. You can trim away excess caramel if needed.
- Let caramel set fully.
- Melt chocolate candy coating according to package directions.
- Pour into a canning jar for easy dipping.
- Dip pretzels into melted chocolate and tap off excess.
- Sprinkle on desired sprinkles and/or candy.
- Place on parchment paper to set.
Compliments of Mama Cheaps
- Brownie bites
- Fresh Strawberries (rinsed, hulled)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter –softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoon half and half
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- Arrange brownie bites on a tray.
- *Make frosting: combine butter, sugar, half and half and vanilla in a bowl. Beat with a mixer for 2 minutes or until it becomes fluffy.
- Place your frosting in a Ziploc bag and snip the corner to make a piping bag.
- Swirl frosting on top of each brownie.
- Top each brownie with a strawberry, cut side down (pointy side up).
- Dot the top of each strawberry with a tiny bit of frosting.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
*TIP: If making your own icing doesn’t sound like fun, use the Betty Crocker cupcake icing in an aerosol can and a fancy tip. Tadah!
High Fashion, Low Budget: 7 Tips for Frugal Fashionistas
Style is a funny thing…one day it’s in, and the next day it’s out. Pulling off chic and trendy can be expensive, especially if you’re keeping up with the Kardashians. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be.
If you want to be a fashionista but still need to pay your rent, read on. We’re giving you tips that will help you fill your wardrobe with affordable styles that are nothing short of fabulous.
1. Visit consignment, thrift, and vintage clothing shops
Consignment shops are popping up faster than Starbucks coffee houses these days and for a good reason: there’s a big market for pre-owned, well- cared for clothing and accessories that are still current. Shop early and often in the more affluent areas and you might just find those to-die-for leopard print mules you drooled over last winter. In terms of quality and condition, consignment shop owners can be quite selective when choosing which items to accept, but you should always inspect items for imperfections.
Thrift store shopping is en vogue right now and a goldmine for the bargain fashionista. But, you have to be a person who enjoys the thrill of the hunt. From t-shirts to designer handbags, from chinos to ball gowns, they have it all. Items arrive in various conditions, so inspect your purchases carefully.
Vintage shops are trending lately, especially because the look is really timeless. Vintage clothing is unique and often one-of-a-kind. Fancy buttons, interesting fabric combinations, and hand-sewn embellishments are their trademark, which is what makes them so fabulous. Sometimes the clothing can take you back to another time or, combined with a modern look, it can add that pop of interest that ultimately makes the outfit.
2. Don’t discount the resale sites
Poshmark, Depop, eBay, ThredUp, Swap…they all offer pre-owned stylish pieces at deeply discounted prices. The secret, though, is to be specific about what you’re looking for. Search NWT (new with tags) or EUC (excellent used condition) and don’t be shy about asking the seller to post more pictures. Look for tried-and-true brands that always fit you well. Before you make a purchase, be sure to review the site’s return policy since you’re basing your purchase on how you imagine it will look. Accessories are a less risky purchase since they always fit!
3. Connect on social media
If you thought Facebook was just for catching up with old classmates and posting pictures of little Johnny’s first birthday party, you’re living a sheltered life. Facebook Marketplace sells everything from futons to fur coats, clothing to crock pots, all at rock-bottom prices. Usually, clothing items are those that sellers think could earn them a few extra bucks, especially the ones with designer labels. Join your local Facebook garage sale groups and you never know what you might find.
Love the Stitch-Fix personal shopper concept, but not crazy about their prices? There’s a Facebook group that resells new and gently worn items from the Stitch-Fix family of labels, and another that finds the same or comparable styles on sale at local stores. Are Anthropology, Free People, and Urban Outfitters some of your faves? Yup, they’re there, too! Go ahead. Use that search button and go wild.
4. Shop discount stores
Discount stores like TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack, Marshalls, and Saks off Fifth are ideal for the savvy, designer-minded shopper who doesn’t want to pay full price. Generally, these stores negotiate the lowest price on overstock and end-of-season inventory from other companies and then sell it at 20-60% below retail prices.
Discount stores are less concerned with purging last season’s inventory with end-of-season sales but they’ll usually markdown items twice a year, in January and July. At TJ Maxx, a price tag with a red dot means the item has been discounted only once, and a yellow dot means it’s been marked down to its lowest price. You might have to buy your winter coat in July, but it’ll be a steal!
Head to your favorite discount store and find out which days of the week they receive new inventory or when the next clearance sweep is scheduled. There’s no big secret; all you need to do is ask. Plan ahead and get there early for the biggest selection.
5. Plan a swap party
If you have friends that are the same size and have similar tastes in style, host a clothing swap party. Each season, head to your closet and choose items you haven’t worn, are bored with, or don’t fit your shape quite right. Swapping clothes with your friends can boost your wardrobe and bring new life to unloved and neglected pieces that are perfect…for someone else.
6. Take on the department stores
Department stores are not the worst places to find your style, but don’t buy anything without a coupon. Macy’s will price match Macys.com and you can still couple it with a discount code. They’ll also honor online prices for the same item from a list of competitors like Belk, Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, and Lord & Taylor.
Love the superior customer service of Nordstrom? Join their rewards club and earn points for every purchase. When you reach 2,000, they’ll send you a $20 Nordstrom note to use on a future purchase. While their sales may be few and far between, they offer free personal styling and free alterations. Price matching is standard policy as are ten-day price adjustments.
7. Love it or leave it
We all have our favorite stores and brands. The key to scoring the best deals is to know the opportune time to shop–when shipments arrive, at the end of a season, before your coupon expires, or during a promotional event. It’s also important to buy pieces that you love when you see them, not merely when you need them. Ever try to find a dress to wear to a holiday party during your lunch break? You’d pay double for one that simply doesn’t make you look like you’re wearing a trash bag just to get out of there.
Your wardrobe should also be versatile, lend itself to be easily mixed-and- matched, and include enough neutrals to balance the other colors and patterns. Wear a vintage embroidered blazer with a pair boyfriend jeans, or change it up and pair it with a pencil skirt. Match that navy tunic with a pair of white capris and a shabby chic denim jacket. Replace the tunic with a striped t-shirt and grab some tennis shoes for a whole new look. Maximize the possibilities and it’ll seem as if your outfits are endless.