Sunday, November 25, 2012

See the Holiday Lights at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens: Sunday, November 25, 2012

On Thanksgiving Sunday, check out the Holiday lights at Atlanta Botanical Garden.  There's more than a million lights in the full display, and they're put to really fantastic use.  Start the day with some Cyber Monday Preparation.  Then plan out your Giving Tuesday experience.  Then, the lights followed by a delightful dinner at Campagnolo.  Not bad...
Here's what you do Sunday, November 25, 2012
See the Holiday Lights at the Botanical Garden on Sunday.
The holiday season is upon us.  And the Atlanta Botanical Garden is ready for it.  Each year, they put on a light show to rival all others.  This year, it's bigger and better than ever.  More than a million lights.   Light sculptures of santa crickets and winter wonderlands, and colorful christmas tree forests will get you in the spirit.  Tickets are $20 for adults, $14 for kids.  Go check it out!  Opens at 5.  Closes at 10.  

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Here's what you do Sunday,

First:  A little Cyber Monday preparation.  Cyber Monday is the end of the Thanksgiving weekend extravaganza.  It's mostly focused on on-line savings on electronics, but there are savings across the board.  Check out this article from the Huffington post on the subject.  They say:
"Successful Cyber Monday shopping is not about aimlessly browsing or getting everything in one place, says Hoyt [a cyber shopping expert]. It's about honing your list down to specific items and searching for the lowest prices for each of them. 
One way to do this is to browse at stores over the holiday weekend, to scan bar codes of desired products into a price-checking application like Red Laser, and to check reviews or browse ads at home. 
"If I were a consumer trying to be as thrifty as possible, I would invest my time at the aggregated websites that are compiling the Cyber Monday deals," says Andrew Baker, assistant professor of marketing in the College of Business Administration at San Diego State University.  
And, when stores are shut, check for deals online.  
"That's what retailers want you to do," says Dan Olds, who runs Gabriel Consulting Group, a retail trend watching firm."
Sounds like good advice.  One thing I'm in need of is wireless speakers.  A way to get some good quality sound throughout the house, and be able to stream iTunes, Spotify, and anything else I want to it.  I heard tell that JamBox speakers are the right speakers for the job.  But, they're pricey.  And, keeping in mind I might want a few of them to give me sound everywhere, I'm wondering if CyberMonday will come to the rescue?

The Jawbone JamBox.  A tiny little speaker with big sound. The original runs $199 on their site.  The new BIG JamBox, which vastly improves sound from the already impressive JamBox, runs $299.

First, let's take a look at the speakers.  JamBox is by a company called Aliph.   The speakers are bluetooth enabled, so your iPhone, or iPad, or any other BT device can connect right to them, and all audio can come through the speaker, including using the JamBox as a speaker phone.  Not too shabby.  The big pro is that the sound coming out of this box is amazing!  The con is they're known to be pricey.  Now, the deal. 

A good place to go is  They scour the web all the time to find vendors for thousands of products.   Just go to the site.  Type in your product, and boom!  The lowest price I found was $120 for the JamBox on e-Bay.  If you want to avoid the auctiony atmosphere, next prices up was $129 at  That's about a 30-40% savings off the company web site.  Not bad at all.  And, nice to have Google do the work for ya!  BTW, Google shopping is always active.  You don't have to wait for Cyber Monday. 

Second:  Plan out your GivingTuesday.   Speaksing of Cyber Monday.  Tuesday of this week is GivingTuesday.  A new day that has been created to get us all in the giving spirit over the holidays.  We mentioned a couple days back joining SocialVest.Us as part of your GivingTuesday preparation.  There's so much more you can do.  My favorite part of their site is the Ideas page, which gives you tons of ideas for cranking up your giving.   Check it out, and get to giving.   Here's a couple of good ideas:
"Have a family conversation about your favorite foods and the healthy foods you having been trying to eat.  Take some of those foods from your cabinets (non perishable) and bring them to your local food pantry.

As a family, empty your pockets and your piggy banks once every month! Collect 10% (or whatever percent you decide) of the money, and decide together where you want that money to go in your community."
Third:  Nap Time.  As the holiday weekend winds down, it's time for a nap.  Enjoy it.
Fourth: See the lights.  There's more than a million.  Dare you to try to count them all!
Finally:  Dinner at Campagnolo.   From the Peasant Restaurants, this eatery on Piedmont does Italian very well indeed.  Start with a great bottle of wine.  Try the 2010 Witness Tree Chainsaw to drink.  So good.  Check this out:
"Much brighter in color than in vintages past, the 2010 Chainsaw presents aromas of fresh berries, dried herbs and barnyard. It maintains a pure, clean mouth feel with a core of fresh red fruits. Ripe strawberries, bing and black cherries, along with subtle notes of currant are accentuated by more herbal nuances such as thyme, savory and sweet marjoram. Quite light and lively now, the 2010 Chainsaw will continue to flesh-out and broaden within the coming months. It is an ideal pairing with a multitude of cheeses, roasted game birds or grilled, flaky fish."

Ummm.  Yeah!!

We were very much in the mood for pasta, and selected the capellini and the risotto plates.    We were not disappointed.  Beautiful helpings of both.  Perfectly cooked, and just the right mix of flavor.  We shared the lamb marsala after that.  Lamb shoulder cooked with marsala wine and wild mushroom with herbs and atop a bed of garlic mashed potato.  Making myself hungry just writing about it.  Dessert was amaretto cheesecake.  Divine.  Check out the menu here.  Valet is on 10th street at Zocalo.  They only take reservations for parties of 6 or more.  ($50 per person).

Sunday dinner at Campagnolo.  Nice...


Book Keeping

For two people:

  • Cyber Monday: $Up to you.
  • Giving Tuesday Research: $Free
  • Nap: $free
  • Holiday Lights: $40
  • Campagnolo: $100 plus $5 for parking

  • Total: $145 

    Day Map:

    View HolidayLights2012 in a larger map


    Carbon Footprint:

    Today's full day plan can take up to about 7 miles of driving, if your home base is midtown Atlanta.  The 7 miles equates to about 6 pounds of carbon dioxide, or the carbon sequestered by about 1 sq feet of forest.  Calculations are based on the U.S. EPA's green house gas equivalencies calculator.  
    7 miles of driving
    pounds of carbon dioxide
    1 square feet of forest would be required to sequester this carbon.

    Wonder why a gallon of gas (about 6 pounds) generates 20 pounds of green house gas?  Check out this article at

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