Hi, my name is Samantha Cole, I’m a closet rapper, a professional bridesmaid, and the best mean-mugger this side of the Mississippi. In another life I would have been a back-up dancer for Beyonce, a florist, or some amazing combination of the two. I've worked (and been blessed to have worked) a lot of interesting jobs in the last few years from a high school teacher, to a fake wedding planner, to a business analyst. I've been a musician my whole life, and will continue to be, but my current occupation where I am excited to plant some solid roots is as the Marketing and Communications director for Bethel Atlanta.
The biggest things that you need to know about me are that I care about people (sometimes to a fault), and all that I want to do in this world is love well, give life to people, and live in a way that heaven invades earth. That’s the simple truth. My mom is my muse, my dad deserves an award every day, my sisters inspire me daily, I could eat the turkey burger from Yeah! Burger every day from here to eternity, I love my people, I love my job, I love my God, and the truth is that I don’t ever run out of that love. Not in a flowery, out there, fantastical kind of way, but in the sense that my love pulls from a well of even greater love that doesn’t ever run out. Cheers to that, and cheers to you!
Plain and simple, Atlanta is home. From staying out too late in my teenage summers just to see Underoath play at The Masquerade, to planting some solid roots at my home in Midtown in my twenties. I couldn't be happier to have ended up where I thought I'd never be: in my home town. There's an old school rap song called FILA which stands for Forever I Love Atlanta. (It's also a clothing brand, HA!) But, that's a perfect way to full-circle explain this crazy city with all it's cultures and history that fill it: you just love it forever.
My favorite thing about Atlanta is that you have relatively any scenery or vibe right around the corner from you or just a few hour drive away. Do you want the same old brunch but a different scenery? You can be in the more up and coming Midtown area and drive just a few minutes to the eclectic and art-centered Cabbagetown. Are you tired of streets and buildings? Drive just an hour or so away and you've got dirt roads and rivers. I love that I am in the heart of a thriving and busy city, but just a few short hours away from lakes, trees, and the middle of nowhere. The world is truly at your fingertips here.
West Egg @westeggcafe
Brunch seems to be something of an Olympic sport in Atlanta. There are truly an amazing amount of places to choose from. I'm a fan of being a regular places, and having someone already starting my usual order because they see me walk in, and for the last few years for me that's been West Egg Cafe. You come for the food, and you stay for the old-school photo booth. Classic orders are the Georgia Benedict or if you make it (and endure the wait) for the Saturday or Sunday brunch, grab a Peachtree Plate. If you're not completely full after, grab a banana pudding on the way out at their bakery window. You will not regret it.
Atlanta has a sidewalk that goes through half of the city (and will eventually go all around it) with little walk-off areas that are near all the best spots and amazing restaurants along the way called The Beltline. One of the best of those, is Ladybird Grove & Mess Hall. Designed to be a modern spin on the same old summer-camp, Ladybird makes you feel like you're in the middle of the woods right within the city. Complete with a screened porch and wooden camp benches, Ladybird has the whole camp vibes thing down. If you're in the city and looking for a killer camp-style meal (yes, a fluffernutter IS on the menu) Ladybird is your place.
Bone Garden @bonegardenatl
If you love authentic Mexican food, and you don't mind a paper mache Dia de los Muertos-style skeleton staring down at you during your meal, then you need to experience Bone Garden. Located in the middle of an industrial park, Bone Garden is a GEM in Atlanta. The inside is fully decorated like a Day of the Dead celebration year-round, complete with a fully authentic Mexican menu.
Late Night Eats
After an evening or night out on the town, you may or may not be craving some food. For me, it's usually..ehem ALWAYS...pizza. With multiple locations, Fellinis has been serving late night snackers great pizza and calzones for years. For the best ambiance, visit the one on Ponce de Leon Ave. Most nights they're open until 2am to satisfy all your pizza-y needs. Grab a local beer, a good slice, and a seat on the patio under their string lights and enjoy your spot in the middle of the city.
Sublime Doughnuts @sublimedoughnuts
Okay, this is my sweet spot. Pun intended. I don't know where it started, but my love for doughnuts is here to stay. Sublime Doughnuts is located in the heart of midtown/Georgia Tech campus in a shopping center. The sign outside just says DONUT and you would never guess that inside looks like a graffiti version of Piedmont Park with the best doughnuts around, but trust me, it is. If you go, get one of everything. I wish I was kidding. However, if you have better self-control than I do, get the A-town Cream or any of the amazing options pictured. Lettering done by Ashley Buzzy (@arbuzzy).
Octane Coffee (west side) @octanecoffee
Octane on the west side of the city is a real-life modern version of the TV show Cheers. True story. If there is anywhere that makes me feel like an absolute regular, it's this place. If you want a good friend hang-out, a place to work, or a place for a casual date over coffee or drinks, Octane is the place. During the day it's usually full with the work-from-home-ers like myself, but it's a great place to park for a few hours and visit with friends.
Kimball House @kimballhouse
Kimball House is a great speak-easy style bar and restaurant in Decatur on the east side of Atlanta. All the guys and gals look like they came straight out of a coal-mining reenactment in the best way possible. Great people, amazing food, awesome vibes, and a killer selection of cocktails that rotate.
Local Beer & Brewery
Monday Night Brewing @mondaynight
If you're like me, and you like your beer as dark as motor oil, then the stout from Monday Night Brewing is for you. If you have a case of the Mondays and want a place to drink some good beer, play some cornhole, and loosen your tie then this is your place. Inside the brewery they have a wall complete with people's actual ties that they have taken off and nailed to the wall after a long work day. MNB started out of a bible study and turned into something amazing, and when you tour the brewery you get the full story where soon enough you will be subscribing to their mantra: weekends are overrated.
Jackson St. Bridge
Jackson Street Bridge has one of the greatest views of the Atlanta skyline. Any given day there could be 10-15 people standing on the sidewalk by the bridge taking pictures with the breathtaking view in the background. My suggestion: as the sun is going down, grab your favorite latte from Octane, some lawn chairs, and enjoy watching the sunset over the city with a special someone.
King of Pops window on The Beltline @kingofpops
One of the exists off of Atlanta's Beltline lets you off in the neighborhood of Inman Park. Just off the walkway there is a window where you can get one of the greatest popsicles you will ever have from King of Pops - very appropriately named. On a summer day, after a brisk walk along the Beltline, there is no better way to cool off than to enjoy a pop from the King himself. Best flavors are up for debate always, but I'll never turn down a cookies and cream pop.
Chrome Yellow Trading Co. @chromeyellowtradingco
Atlanta is full of amazing little shops owned by amazing people with amazing stories, and Chrome Yellow Trading Co. is one of those. Hi from me in the reflection of the window! For the last year they have had pop-ups all over the city, and are now finally taking claim in the neighborhood of Edgewood. As soon as they are up and running you can grab a cup of coffee in their shop and take a look around at the latest in fashion and other apparel needs from candles, to lotions, to accessories, and so much more.