21 February 2011

Moose Jaw Minute #27: An (Un)Bachelorette Weekend in Atlanta

A weekend away with my closest girlfriends and family in a city where the temperature wasn't threatening frostbite was just what I needed! As a result of the way Dave and I got married last May (it was a surprise engagement and wedding for me!), I missed out on some of the more "traditional" lead-ins to married life. As such, my sister Melissa, my mom, and my best friends whom I've known for more than ten years, Katie and Mariah, decided to throw me a wonderful (un)bachelorette weekend celebration in Atlanta, Georgia! My sister and her family currently hail from the peach tree state, and, since the rest of us have been enduring a rather harsh winter, nothing sounded better to this group of women than a weekend in the south where jackets are optional in the month of February.

We had a fantastic time! We stayed in a boutique hotel in Midtown -- the Artmore. We dined at Atlantic Station on sushi, played games from our youth in our hotel rooms while sipping wine, enjoyed the warm sun on our faces, and ate way too much chocolate, cheese, and other goodies! Katie and Mariah even designed t-shirts for us to wear that read "Un-Bachelorette Weekend -- Atlanta 2011!" It was so incredibly fantastic to be with everyone -- trading stories, catching up in person, and giving each other words of encouragement, love, and advice as we all navigate marriage, career, parenthood, home-buying/renovating, and moving.

The absolute highlight of the (un)bachelorette weekend didn't have anything to do with us. The gals arranged for us to volunteer our Saturday morning at an amazing organization called Open Hand. They know how important giving back is to me and I was pumped that they decided to incorporate that into our weekend!! Open Hand is an organization that seeks to provide nutritional meals to prevent/manage chronic disease. 

Here are there mission and vision statements:

Mission:  Open Hand helps people prevent or better manage chronic disease through Comprehensive Nutrition Care™, which combines home-delivered meals and nutrition education as a means to reinforce the connection between informed food choices and improved quality of life.

Vision:  Open Hand seeks to eliminate disability and untimely death due to nutrition-sensitive chronic disease.

It was awesome! We helped the culinary team in their kitchen by placing hundreds of marinated chicken cutlets on trays to be cooked. We bagged meals for recipients and chatted with the other volunteers who were there from a local company. There are other ways for folks to help as well by driving routes and delivering food, donating to the organization, and assisting with programming. The staff was amazing and passionate about their work and I was so excited to be there with my mom, sister, and good friends on a gorgeous Saturday morning bagging good, whole food for the people who most need it.

My dad was in Atlanta too and we squeezed in a run one morning!

Melissa, Mariah, me, and Katie

Me and my GORGEOUS sister!

Ready to work!

In the Open Hand office after volunteering...

Such an incredible weekend and I am so lucky to have such fantastic people in my life!

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