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Love It, Leave It: The Atlanta Edition

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Love It, Leave It: The Atlanta Edition

There’s just something about down home southern cooking that makes me swoon. A figurative swoon, but also a literal one; I think the aggressive butter usage makes me a little woozy. Atlanta may have a culinary scene that pays homage to its roots – with fried chicken and shrimp and grits abound – but it’s also one that is increasingly evolving with a profusion of farm-to-table, contemporary eateries. After some thorough field research – visiting my Georgian girlfriend who was based in ATL (or yes, HOTlanta) for the first year of our relationship – I’ve gotten to eat my way through the city with a local always sitting on the other side of the table (or next to me if we feel like being those lesbians).

Love It: Fox Bros. The Optimist. Jeni’s.

Let’s slow it down, in true southern fashion, and check out a few ATL options: a tried and true barbecue joint, an upscale modern eatery and my weakness, a sweet spot.

Photo Credit: Erin Oliveri

Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q: It took many trips to the A before I finally sat down, wet nap in hand, and crushed some FB BBQ…in the front seat of my girlfriend’s car. There are a couple of reasons for our offbeat lunch locale: 1. Fox Brothers is an Atlanta institution and essentially the first eatery anyone who’s been will recommend. Naturally, this causes the type of lines you’d see at the Apple store the night before a new iPhone release. That’s why we skipped the dine-in queue and waited only about 15 minutes for a take-out order. 2. That freshly smoked meat smell got us good. We couldn’t wait to get home to tear those ribs…and brisket, mac and cheese, collard greens and fried pickles…apart. (I’m regretting not lying earlier in my story and saying we were with a youth soccer team.) Ask for extra barbecue sauce and go eat in Piedmont Park to avoid the wait. We also did a nice stroll along the Beltline to feel slightly better about our buffet-style consumption.

Photo Credit; Erin Oliveri

The Optimist: When in a landlocked city, my first inclination isn’t to pull up a seat in a seafood-forward restaurant. My mind races – where did the fish come from? Did they have a connecting flight? Did they fly cramped in coach or have a lay-flat seat in first? (The most basic questions, obviously.) But, between my extensive research and rave reviews from my girlfriend’s mates, The Optimist (from beloved local chef Ford Fry) had slowly eked its way to the top of our restaurant list. This spot isn’t the easiest to grab a reservation at, but luckily, when I called, the host suggested a stealthy swoop of the small tables surrounding the seafood bar in front. Mission accomplished. Not only do you get an awesome view of the bearded hipsters shucking your future oysters, the massive king crab legs on ice are pretty easy on the eyes. Start off with a smattering of oysters; these bi-coastal bivalves hail from Massachusetts all the way to Washington. And who doesn’t love grilled branzino and peaches (gotta love Georgia)? The seafood options are all top-notch.

Photo Credit: Erin Oliveri

Jeni’s: I had unknowingly tasted Jeni’s before, but via frozen pint during an indulgent shop at Dean & Deluca’s in Manhattan. These artisanal ice creams hit the wallet hard, anywhere from $10-$15 a pint, but I have #noregrets. This Ohio-based chain has two brick and mortar stores in the city – one in Krog Street Market and the other in the Westside Provisions District – full of ridiculously unique and impressive flavor mash ups (i.e. goat cheese and red cherries). Try the mini trio dish so you can mix and match these quirky combos. Also, Jeni, if you’re reading this, I beg of you to open a NYC outpost. Thank you kindly.

Leave It: Fritti.

Inman Park is a quaint culinary nook in the A – from BeetleCat, another hot spot from the Fry empire, to Barcelona , a trendy tapas spot with a scroll of a wine list. Another bustling eatery on this mini restaurant row is Fritti, beloved by most locals for its wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizzas. If you’re a pizza snob (which my friends endearingly call me), Fritti is going to miss the mark. The quintessential charred, raised Neapolitan crust seemed absent, along with the flavor. This might be a local favorite for a pie, but if you head out and amble around Inman for a few minutes, you’re bound to find a more solid meal.

Originally posted 2017-07-24 17:28:41.

Erin Oliveri is the definition of an adventurous nomad — from eating highly questionable street food in Bangkok to plunging off of one of the highest bungee jumps in the world — there’s nothing she won’t try when traveling. A native New Yorker, Erin has eaten her way through nearly 40 countries and six continents — Antarctica, she’s coming for you next. She’s also pretty obsessed with puns, not going to the gym, and her French Bulldog, Toulouse (Erin’s #1 eating buddy and frequent star on her Instagram).

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Tell It Like A Lesbian

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My mother refuses to refer to my partner as anything other than a friend. We’ve been dating for three years and my mother still won’t acknowledge our relationship. Am I crazy for being angry about this and wanting to confront her? I feel insulted and it really upsets my partner. –Clarke

Dear Clarke, You’re not crazy for being upset at your mother. It sounds like you have every right to be angry, especially if after three years your mother can’t even acknowledge your relationship. If talking to her gently about it hasn’t worked after all this time, it may indeed be time to confront her more forcefully, as your partner’s feelings are also being hurt by this behavior. If you decide to confront her and her attitude remains unchanged, it may be time to cut ties. After all, your happiness is what matters most in this situation, regardless of whatever is causing such denial from your mother. You must put the health of you and your partner’s relationship first, and eventually, your mother may come to realize what she is losing because of her denial.

__________

Dear Tell It, Do you have any suggestions for handling depression? I’ve been really struggling with loneliness and I have no energy for anything, even stuff I usually enjoy. I feel like I have no one to turn to. –Otto

Dear Otto, Depression often causes the loneliness and sense of isolation that you are feeling. It’s important that you recognize this as a symptom of your depression and do your best not to isolate yourself as a result. Because depression can take a lot of energy, remember that your brain and body need time to recover. And remember that focusing on self-care is not selfish. Depression is an illness just like the flu and other diseases and should be treated with the same care.

On bad days, make a warm drink that you enjoy, read your favorite book or watch a show or movie you love. Spend some time by yourself to recharge, and then contact a friend or family member to let them know what you’ve been feeling. Make a plan to spend time with them, even if it’s only for an hour or two, preferably away from your house. Getting outside and into a new environment is an excellent way of resetting your brain. While I wish I could tell you otherwise, depression doesn’t just go away. You will likely go through phases of good and bad, and it’s important to learn the symptoms that are specific to you. If you have suicidal thoughts, don’t hesitate to ask for help. The suicide hotline number is 1-800-273-8255. Hang in there, and remember that there are people who care.

__________

Have questions for Tell It Like A Lesbian? Let me answer them! Submit your questions below (you don’t have to use your real name unless you want to), and see your question answered on our website!

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Originally posted 2017-10-26 14:10:06.


Also published on Medium.

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In December, This Round-The-World Cruise Visits 35 Countries

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Imagine being able to visit 66 ports in 35 countries over 141 days.  Such a trip has never been offered in the past, but now Viking Cruises, based in Los Angeles, is planning one.  

The Viking Sun will set sail on 15 December 2017. Furthermore, Cruise Critic has named Viking Cruises as one of the top 10 cruise lines for gay and lesbian travelers because it frequently partners with LGBT travel agencies and past travelers have reported good experiences.  In fact, the 2017 CRUIZIE Awards for LGBT Cruise Travel awarded Viking River Cruises the ‘Best River Cruise Line for LGBTQ Passengers.’  

So what is this journey going to look like?  Let’s have a look:  

Day 1: Depart From Miami

Miami

On 15 December 2017, the Viking Sun will leave Miami, the international city in Florida.  If you are embarking on this trip and are here in Miami, appreciate the barrier islands and Miami beach.  Here, find colorful buildings, surfside hotels and white sand.  If this sounds good, then spend a few days here, before making your way to the Viking Sun. 

Days 2 to 20: The Caribbean, Central America and Los Angeles

The Caribbean

On day 2, cruise the Caribbean Sea,  which covers an area of approximately 1,063,000 square miles. The deepest area in this sea is the Cayman Trench between Cuba and Jamaica.  Between day 3 and day 5, explore the city of Cienfuegos in Cuba, where a walking tour is offered.  This traveler explored gorgeous flamingoes, boat houses and more attractions.  

Between days 6 to 17, visit other countries lying in the Caribbean and South and Central America: Jamaica, Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. Then briefly visit  Mexico and Los Angeles, before cruising the Pacific Ocean.   

Days 30 to 43: French Polynesia, Cook Islands, Tonga and Fiji

Nuka Hiva, the largest of the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia

French Polynesia, an overseas French possession, consists of more than 100 stunning islands, stretching across more than 2,000 kilometers. Start cruising the South Pacific and visit Taiohae, the main town of Nuka Hiva (pictured above) in French Polynesia.  You will also visit Tahiti and Bora Bora, known for its scuba diving.  

The 15 gorgeous islands that make up the Cook Islands could provide a hint of paradise.  Warm tropical waters, crystal clear waters and aquatic life are just a few of the treasures that can be found here. Then in Tonga, discover white beaches, coral reefs and tropical rainforest.  Continue this tropical holiday in Fiji, which also has beaches and coral reefs.  

Days 44 to 113: New Zealand, Australia and Asia

New Zealand

In New Zealand, go on an extensive tour that includes the Bay of Islands, an enclave of more than 140 islands with beaches and water activities. Find an abundance of wildlife, including penguins, dolphins, marlin, whales, and gannets.  There’s even a camping ground here.

Go on to cruise the Tasman Sea, and discover several attractions in Australia. The Great Barrier Reef, located in northeastern Australia, consists of golden beaches, thousands of reefs, and hundreds of Islands with dolphins, sharks, and colorful fish.     

Then cruise the Timor Sea and start exploring the culture and beauty of Asia. See Indonesia, and then go on to visit Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, China, Hong Kong , Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore and India.  During this journey explore Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, which has beautiful islands topped with rainforests.  

Days 114 to 131: The Middle East, North Africa and the Central Mediterranean

Malta in the Central Mediterranean

Cruise across the Arabian Sea, and tour several countries in the Middle East and North Africa: Oman, Jordan, Egypt, and Tunisia. There is also a stop at Malta, located in the Central Mediterranean.  See wildflowers, plants, prehistoric sites, and walk to discover Malta’s natural beauty.  

Days 132 to 141: Europe

Murcia (Cartagena), Spain

See Portugal, England, and explore the beaches and hiking trails of Sardinia, the Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea. In Spain, Murcia is a university city with beaches, water sports, wine, and historical sites.    

Want to explore these countries, and Interested in this cruise? Call Viking at 888-850-6260 or find out more here.

Originally posted 2017-10-26 14:08:07.

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Same-Sex Marriage in the US: A Decade of Change

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On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court announced the decision to make same-sex marriage a right in all 50 states. People all over the country celebrated, pride flags were flown, and for the first time, the White House was lit with rainbow lights. The decision was a landmark victory for the gay-rights movement, but behind it all was decades of litigation, activism, and advocacy.

In 1996, a law called the Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law by President Bill Clinton. It defined marriage as “the union of one man and one woman” in the United States constitution. Individual states were able to recognize same-sex unions, but on a federal level, the words wife, husband, and spouse, were reserved specifically for heterosexual couples. Same-sex couples were also denied social security survivor’s benefits and were unable to jointly file taxes. For almost a decade, the DOMA remained.

After 40 years of being together, Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer traveled to Toronto to get legally married in 2007. A year later, their union was officially recognized by their home state of New York . In 2009, Spyer passed away at the age of 77. She left her entire estate to her wife, Windsor. Because of DOMA, the federal government did not recognize their union as a marriage and Windsor was required to pay over $300,000 in taxes on her inheritance. Windsor decided to challenge this because she was legally married and should have therefore qualified for an unlimited tax deduction on the inherited estate. After approaching several gay-rights advocacy groups, she was repeatedly denied and was unable to find representation.

Finally, Roberta Kaplan of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP agreed to take on the case. In 2010, her case was filed and made its way through the circuits and in 2013 it had reached the United States Supreme Court. In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled in favor of Windsor and announced that DOMA had been unconstitutional. By the same margin, the Supreme Court would legalize same-sex marriage three years later.

In September of 2017, Windsor passed away at the age of 88. She left behind a legacy of activism and change, and hope. At her funeral, Hillary Rodham read a eulogy. “Because of her, people came out, marched in their first pride parade, married the love of their life. Thank you, Edie,” reported the New York Daily News.“Thank you for being a beacon of hope, for proving that love is more powerful than hate.”

Edith Windsor has helped to change the lives of thousands of LGBTQ couples and her legacy will continue to live on. Do you have a story of how legalizing same-sex marriage changed your life? Tell us in the comments!

Originally posted 2017-10-25 13:58:13.

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