a weekend of celebrations

What a weekend! We co-hosted a couples wedding shower on Saturday for one of my dearest college friends, Karen, and her fiance, Matthew. They are getting married in April, so several of the other bridesmaids and I planned a co-ed gathering to celebrate them one last time before the big weekend. We hired The Blaxican food truck to cater the party, and it was such a big hit! I could eat that jalapeno mac n cheese every day, I think.
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Because we were hosting the shower at our house and we knew there would be a lot going on till late in the evening, Leighton got to spend the night with Grandma for the first time ever! My parents just recently renovated part of their basement and moved some things around so that they would have a proper nursery for L and her soon-to-be cousin. It sounds like both L and my mom had the absolute best time, and I can’t wait for them to get to do it again. I know we have the fondest memories of getting to spend the night with our grandparents, and I’m excited that Leighton will get to have these memories, too.
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The partying continued throughout Sunday with both a birthday party and a baby shower. We celebrated our friends’ little boy turning two with a construction-themed party at their local rec center. Leighton could have stayed on that playground ALL DAY if we would have let her. It was so fun to see several of our friends and their little ones, but man… chasing after a toddler on a playground is not the best way to try to get in some quality conversation with other adults. 🙂
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I did get some lovely adult time later in the afternoon, though! One of my first friends at UGA and a fellow Springbluff dorm resident, Anna, is having her first baby next month. Some of her girlfriends and her sisters hosted the most lovely shower at St. Cecilia in Buckhead. The food was to die for (you have to try their braised short rib agnolotti!), and Anna was showered with the most adorable little boy clothes and new-mom essentials. I wrote in her card that it was hard to believe that we’ve been friends for almost 16 years now. We met as “babies” our freshman year of college, and now we’re having (or have) babies of our own. I’m so thankful for these long-lasting friendships!
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It was a whirlwind weekend, but one of the most fun because it was filled with friends, great food, and happy celebrations. So many great things to come in the next month!

Leighton @ 18 Months

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Height + weight: 25 lbs 2 oz

Milestones: Leighton is really starting to pick up on new words and lots of animal sounds, which are our favorite party trick to show off these days. A couple of our favorites are her impression of an elephant (which involves throwing her arm up in the air like its trunk) and her take on “meow” when asked what a kitty says — she says “ma?” as if she’s asking a question every time. She also thinks it’s funny to instead answer “uh-oh” every time we ask what an animal says… her sense of humor is really starting to flourish. 😉

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We’ve been working on “please” and “thank you,” and it’s starting to pay off! Just last month, she has started saying “teh-to” when someone gives her something she wants, and it has been completely unprompted! I’m continually so amazed at the things she’s starting to comprehend.

She has 12 teeth and you’d have hardly even known when her molars came in. I am so thankful she has been an easy teether so far!

Likes: She loves walking up and down our street and collecting rocks from our neighbor’s mailbox garden. She has a new obsession with shaved ice from my parents’ ice machine and would carry around a cup full all day long if we’d let her.

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Leighton LOOOOVES snacks… so much so that we had to put a lock on the pantry doors. Otherwise, she’d eat to her heart’s content all day long and help Coco gain about 20 extra pounds as well. She also likes watching and helping me when I make her sandwiches for lunch, so she’ll pull a kitchen chair over to the counter to assist. It’s about time she started pulling her weight around here…

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The DVD player we bought her for Christmas has become a life saver for us while in the car, and the Baby Einstein videos are her favorite. She’s so much happier to hang in her car seat during errands or a longer car trip, and it has saved my sanity. I like that she also seems to be learning things while she’s watching. It’s a win-win.

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She has really taken to “reading” books the past few months, both right when she wakes up and before bed. We have board books and flap books strewn all around the house, and they have really aided in her learning animals and some household items (like clock and chair, which she will run and point out over and over again).

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Dislikes: Being told no / not getting her way… which now result in her banging her head into the wall or floor and saying “uh-oh” while crying and being mad at us. It’s such a weird thing to do, but we’ve found that she’s not the only kid out there who does this. Hoping it’ll pass soon…

Being sick. Although this is really more of a dislike of mine and Craig’s. She got a double ear infection in late February, along with a cold and cough. Aside from a high fever and glazed over eyes, she was still acting like her usual rambunctious self, though, so I’m thankful she seems to have a high tolerance for pain.  As with any parent, we just hate seeing her sick.

She also still hates having her face wiped after eating and acts like a total maniac when we try to put her on the changing table.

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Other fun stuff: In the past 3 months, we celebrated Christmas, New Year’s and Valentine’s — all of which were infinitely more fun this year now that she’s able to interact and participate in some of the holiday fun.

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One of our favorite things is when we ask her where someone (usually Coco) is, and she throws her hands up by her face as if to say “I have no idea!”. It’s absolutely adorable, and I’m going to be so sad when she stops doing it one day. Her mean face has already become much less prominent these days, which is probably a good thing, as she took to doing it to people in public, like our servers at restaurants and the nice folks checking us out at the grocery store.

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She is such a little environmentalist in the making. Any time she sees a piece of trash on the floor, she’ll stop what she’s doing and find the nearest trash can to throw it away. We crack up over this, because she just started doing it all on her own. At the park recently, she found a food wrapper on the ground and immediately tried to take it over to a light post (which she thought was a trash can) to throw it away. She also loves putting dirty laundry in the hamper or taking clean clothes out of the dryer. Makes mama proud to see that she has such a helpful little spirit!

Leighton’s BIG personality just continues to blossom with each passing month. She loves big and also has quite the temper. She’s stubborn and sassy, but she’s also really sweet and loving. Her bff is our neighbor Emmy, and it’s a true blessing to have become such great friends with her parents. I hope Emmy and Leighton (or “Late” as Emmy calls her) share a friendship that will last for years, even if we no longer live down the street from each other. Coco is L’s furry best friend, and she absolutely adores her. Thankfully, Coco must feel at least partly the same way, because she’s so very tolerant and patient with our little toddler tornado.

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We took a weekend trip up to Franklin in early March to visit Craig’s family and celebrate his brother Chris’s 24th birthday. It’s important to us that Leighton gets to spend a lot of time with her TN family so that she’ll grow up not only knowing and loving them, but also having a lifetime of fond memories like we did with our grandparents (and great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins). Most of the weekend was spent just hanging out at home, eating way too much delicious homemade meals, and playing at their neighborhood playground with L. It was perfect!

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It’s amazing to me that she’s already at the halfway mark to two years old. Time truly is a thief, but I really can’t complain, because she’s growing and learning, and she’s healthy, safe, and so happy…. everything I hope and pray daily for. It’s bittersweet seeing her grow and change so quickly, but I’m so thankful I get to spend the majority of every day with her, just soaking it all it. Happy 1/2 birthday to my baby girl and tiny best friend!

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Halfway to TWO!

Leighton is 18 months today — halfway to being a two year old! I just can’t believe it. I have an 18 month update coming next week after we have her check-up at the pediatrician. In the meantime, I couldn’t wait to share some of my favorites from the mini session I did with her this week.

We went to Whittier Mill Park, one of my favorite hidden gems for photo sessions, to get some fun shots of how much our girl has changed since her one year session in September (and our family holiday photos in October). I think the most noticeable difference is that she’s finally getting some hair! Hallelujah! The park is tucked back into a neighborhood just a few minutes from our house, and we love to visit the playground here when the weather is nice. She is getting so brave — climbing the stairs on the jungle gym all by herself and choosing to slide down the biggest slide there. Her personality is growing by the day, and we love her more than we ever thought possible. Enjoy!

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Atlanta Food Walks

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(photo courtesy of Atlanta Food Walks)

For Christmas, my mom was given a really fun, thoughtful gift from our family friend –  tickets to Atlanta Food Walks, a walking food tour through downtown Atlanta. Our friend asked if I could join mom for the outing, so I happily obliged. 🙂

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We met at Paschal’s and our lovely tour guide, Ashley, started off with some history about Atlanta and the Civil Rights Movement. Did you know that Paschal’s is the unofficial headquarters of the CRM? She and our guide-in-training shared so many interesting stories about the city’s history, much of which tied in with food and the restaurants we would be visiting. i won’t spoil any more tidbits for anyone who might want to take this tour, but I will share more photos, because of course I took some at almost every stop.

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(photo by our tour guide, Ashley)

We had the most delicious, moist and crispy fried chicken at Paschal’s (which was Dr. Martin Luther King’s favorite, and I can see why), yams, chicken gravy, and dressing. Even after going to seven restaurants/food stands, the chicken was definitely one of the most popular items among our tour group.

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Smoke Ring, which we’d actually been to once a few years ago, served up a large plate of BBQ samples and a strawberry lemonade moonshine cocktail. Mom tried pork belly for the first time, and I think everyone cleaned their plates at this stop.

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(photo by our tour guide, Ashley)

We walked a couple miles to Arden’s Garden and tasted a couple juices as well as “cheesy” kale chips. I also bought some Fuzzy Kisses… any guesses as to what those are?
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Sweet Auburn Curb Market was our last stop, which included 4 food stand “tastes” — Grindhouse Killer Burgers, Just Add Honey (a boutique Southern tea shop), Metro Deli (soul food, including a really tasty hoecake), and Miss D’s Pralines (so many amazing sweets).
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My mom and I loved our afternoon spent together being touristy, learning some really neat things about the city’s history, and eating our way through Downtown. The tour guides were wonderful and so knowledgeable, and everything we tasted was fantastic. I highly recommend this for both visitors and locals. We can always stand to learn more about our great city, right?

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(photo by our tour guide, Ashley)

A Woodland Chic Baby Shower

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Last weekend, I co-hosted a baby shower for my brother and my sister-in-law, who are expecting their first baby in April. It’s hard to believe that we’re that far along in our lives that my little brother is about to become a dad (!!), but I was honored and so excited to be a part of throwing this shower for them. I joined forces with her two childhood best friends, who are some of the sweetest, most fun and creative ladies I know.

The chosen theme was woodland chic, and we hosted at my brother’s in-laws’ beautiful home, which looks like an art gallery (her dad is a very talented, self-taught artist). We had so much fun running with this theme, and I think it turned out beautifully. We incorporated a trail mix bar for guests to make party favors, and we used the cutest little teepee to hold gifts, and it’ll later be added to baby boy’s nursery.

I photographed the shower, and I couldn’t resist sharing some shots with y’all. The little woodsy details sprinkled throughout were some of my favorite parts, but the absolute best part was being surrounded by about 45 of their closest friends and both of our families to celebrate them and their little one on the way. He is already so loved, and I just can’t wait to become an aunt soon!!

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love is all you need. vday 2017.

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I’ve had so much fun planning little things for this Valentine’s Day, because let’s face it, holidays are just a lot more exciting when you have a little one to celebrate with. I may have gone slightly overboard picking out some goodies for her, but it’s just so much fun shopping for her, and Target just has a way of suckering me into buying something cute every time I enter its doors. She is obsessed with her little toaster oven for her kitchen because the toast flies out and onto the floor when the timer goes off. I particularly love her ladybug raincoat (Cat & Jack does it again!), and the flamingo hooded bath towel. And I thought those felt flowers were so cute to give her for Valentine’s because they’re indestructible, and now they’re adding some color and sweetness to her kitchen. She got some more thoughtful goodies from several family members… she’s one loved little lady!

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I had big plans of making all the heart-shaped things on Tuesday, starting with pink pancakes for breakfast. They tasted delicious and were definitely pink, but next time, I need to invest in a heart-shaped pancake mold or just use a squirt bottle filled with batter to draw hearts on the pan. Leighton didn’t seem to mind, though, so I’ll call it a win.

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After hearing about a cute little French flower stand that would be set up at the Westside Provisions District, L and I took a little field trip to pick out some fresh blooms for my mom, who is also known as one of L’s bffs and her favorite babysitter. She’s so gracious with giving so much of her time to help us with watching Leighton so we can work and also have a little fun… so some surprise flowers seemed appropriate on the day of love.

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Craig and I decided a couple years ago to stop doing a nice dinner out on VDay… after all, who really likes paying too much money for a pre fixe menu and having to sit at tiny two-top tables that are so close to the next table that you may as well be sitting with those strangers?? 🙂 We’ll usually do our dinner out prior or just afterward, because we always love an excuse for a date night. I was unfortunately down for the count with a fever on our scheduled date night, so that’ll have to happen later…  but I did get some pretty flowers a little early to brighten my day. 🙂

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Instead of going out, we invited my mom over (dad’s out of town for work) and had a little family dinner date. We made heart-shaped chicken parm with pasta and finished up with skillet s’mores. Y’all. They’re they easiest, most bang for your buck dessert ever! I could practically bathe in that chocolatey, marshmallowey goodness. Hope you all had a lovely day, whether it was spent celebrating with a loved one, your galentines, or just hanging on the couch with a pint of ice cream!

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A Few of My Favorite Things (157)

[when asked “Where’s Coco?”]
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[pink on pink on pink]
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[black bean facial]
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[and a perfect yogurt mustache]
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[my new assistant chef]
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[happy 31st to the best little bro!]
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[Stella & Dot look of the week:: Amala Pendant Necklace // Old Navy sweater]
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[Feb ’15 – eating paper towels // Feb ’16 – identifying animals in books]
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[Greek lunch date with my favorite bride-to-be]
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[zoo in January? yes, please!]
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[finding giraffes in books and in real life]
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[turtle!]
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[testing out Hello Fresh – get $40 off your first delivery!]
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We are testing out the Hello Fresh meal service this week, and so far, we’ve been pleasantly surprised. We picked out 3 meals from the weekly offering (they change every week), and although the box barely arrived later in the evening than we’d have preferred, we were able to make the first one last night when we got it. It took a little longer to cook than we expected, but that’s probably just because we didn’t have it in time to prep anything in advance (like cutting the veggies). Dinner was delish, and even Leighton hopped up in our laps to steal several bites. This is in no way sponsored, but they offer a really great referral discount for new users. Use this link to get a whopping $40 off your first delivery! Considering it’s about $60 for 3 different 2-person dinners, that’s a really fabulous discount to try out the service.

In other news, it’s been a fun and busy couple weeks around here. We celebrated my little brother’s birthday with dinner at Miller Union and some drinks at Cooks & Soldiers (mental note to go back for dinner sometime), and I had a weekend full of photo sessions. The weather has been beautiful this week, which called for an impromptu trip to the zoo with Grandma. She brought a lift-the-flap Zoo book she has for L, and we had fun looking for the different animals from the book to see if there were at the zoo. Leighton just learned how to make an elephant sound and she throws her arm up in the air like its trunk — it’s really adorable, and it was neat to get to show her a real live elephant at the zoo!

Hope y’all have a lovely weekend! And although I’m not really a pro football fan, I feel like I need to say it — RISE UP! Here’s hoping that the Falcons can pull out a win in the Super Bowl on Sunday!

A Few of My Favorite Things (156)

After being out of commission for several days last weekend due to a stomach bug, it was so nice to be back to normal this week. We made good use of the warm weather and spent lots of time outside with Leighton, grilled out and enjoyed the sunset, and finally got back to music class after the holiday hiatus.

One of my best girlfriends came in town for a little girls day over the weekend. Several of us spent the day at Ponce City Market and the Atlanta Wine Fest, and it was so fun to just be out and about for the day with some of my favorite girls. We met up later with the guys and had some drinks and dinner in Inman Park. Such a great way to spend a rainy winter day!

We had a low-key Sunday and headed over to our friends’ house to watch the Falcons game and eat pizza. Leighton had the best time running around and playing with their kids. I think she enjoyed eating carrot sticks and mushrooms even more than playing with their toys… such easy-to-please little creatures. I don’t care much about pro football, but it is still exciting to have our home team headed to the Super Bowl! It made for a nice end to a great week.


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[backdoor sunsets]
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[daddy upgraded the dishwasher]
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[cozy coupe twins]
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[baby’s first tiny trim – goodbye, fuzzy patch!]
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[girls day @ ATL Wine Fest]
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[mostly redheaded baby friends]
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A Few of My Favorite Things (155)

Well, we (the city of Atlanta) prepared for #Snowpocalypse2017 last weekend, but all we ended up with here was a bit of ice and some freezing cold temps. I’m glad, because I had a weekend full of photo sessions and we had a 1st birthday party to attend… no time for snow and ice! I was honored to be asked to photograph one of my best friend’s mom’s surprise 65th birthday party at the Intercontinental Hotel on Saturday night. It was such a fun evening with great food, funny stories from her friends and family, and even a guitar/harmonica performance of a song that her brother wrote for her.

It was a busy, cold first week of the new year. We have another busy week ahead, but it’s full of mostly fun stuff and more photo sessions, so I can’t complain. Happy Monday!

[LL’s look of the week – perfect for shopping and lunch at Avalon]
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[camera upgrade (on top) for the new year]
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[ready for snow!]
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[Charlotte’s ONEderland birthday]
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[cake time!]
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[sweet party favors]
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[Avery is ONE]
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A Few of My Favorite Things (NYE edition)

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It’s been a while since I’ve done a weekly post, so I figured the new year is a great time to bring it on back. Last week was mostly filled with more Christmas festivities in Nashville (see my previous post), but we got back in town just in time for New Year’s Eve. My mom graciously agreed to spend the night at our house to keep Leighton so we could spend the evening with some friends at their new house. It was a much-needed break and the perfect way to ring in the new year!

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[my favorite pb&j face]
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[party hats, blowers, champagne, and blondes]
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[our youngest and cutest partier]
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[our fabulous hosts]
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[starting 2017 with some fabulous friends and hats]
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