restaurant review:: sun in my belly

I love a good weekend brunch. In keeping with my vow to try new restaurants more often, we ventured down to the Kirkwood district of Atlanta a couple weeks ago for brunch at Sun in My Belly Cafe. I’ve heard so much about this place, and I’m glad we finally got to check it out. Since there were just 2 of us, we walked right in and got a table.


The inside is festively decorated. Tons of rag garlands, round mirrors, and colorful mason jars. It sort of reminds me of an Anthropologie store display. I also really enjoyed their table decor — lots of little jam jars as containers for sugar, stirring sticks, etc. 

I don’t know about you, but my favorite brunch spots tend to have mimosas and bloody marys. SIMB did have mimosas, but they were a little steep in price for what you get. Still yummy, though. 

Craig chose the The Hangover  – a Housemade Biscuit with Melted Cheddar, Sausage, Fried Egg, Avocado, and Sriracha with Smothered Potatoes. I think about half the restaurant chose the same thing. He loves sriracha, so he was happy with his decision.
I liked the colors on the plate. 🙂

I chose Alison’s Famous Pimento Cheese Omelette with Honey Glazed Bacon and Hashed Potatoes (the bacon was inside the omelette, making it even more delicious, because of course bacon makes everything better). Potato hash is not my favorite way to eat breakfast potatoes, but they did have a nice flavor with onions and red peppers mixed in. A lady at the table next to us ordered the other item I was debating — the Challah French Toast Stuffed with Honeyed Ricotta, served with Seasonal Fruit and Maple Syrup — and it looked amazing. Maybe next time.

Aren’t these jars so pretty?? I couldn’t resist.

We enjoyed our little brunch date out in Kirkwood and I’m sure we’ll be back at some point… but my favorite brunch spot in Atlanta is still West Egg (although I don’t enjoy the long wait to get in, but I guess that’s a testament to how great it is). I’m happy we tried something new.
If you live in the ATL, what’s your favorite brunch spot?

summer bucket list


Memorial Day has come and gone, and summer is officially here! And while we’ll still be working all summer, I can’t help but want to squeeze in more fun outings and activities than we normally do the rest of the year. I was inspired by this summer bucket list from my friend Natalie and decided I had to have my own. I hope we’re able to cross everything off the list by the end of August!

1. Day trip to Zoo Atlanta (where we were on our 1st official date back in 2005!)

2. Take friends out on our boat on Lake Lanier — DONE

3. Beach trip to St. Augustine for our 4th Anniversary — DONE

4. Braves game — DONE

5. 4th of July at Old Hickory in TN — DONE

6. Try 2 new restaurants each month — DONE

7. Hoopla in Vegas! — DONE

8. Have a big ‘ol breakfast at the Original Pancake House— DONE

9. See the Center for Puppetry Arts’ new show, Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat. It’s going to be awesome! — DONE

10. Cookouts with friends and hanging out on the new patio and pallet bed — DONE

11. Lots of Saturday pool time — DONE, but will do again

12. Tuesday night picnic at the Smyrna Food Truck Park — DONE

13. Figure out the curtain/valance situation for Craig’s office windows and guestroom #1 — DONE

14. Hit up the Peachtree Road and Marietta Farmers Markets

15. Make a summer sangria recipe like this one — DONE

16. Hike to the top of Stone Mountain

17. Build a cabinet to update our master bathroom counter/mirror space

18. Finish the projection screen project in the basement and break it in with a Bad Boys screening (just for Craig)! — DONE

19. 30th birthday trip to Cabo!!! What better way to end the summer? — DONE

A Few of My Favorite Things (25)

[weeknight dinner with mom’s homemade spaghetti recipe]

[bobblehead birdie gift from Mexico]

[Look of the Week: Giraffe Top (J. Crew several years ago) // Coral Skinny Jeans (Express last year) // Tory Burch sandals // Rebel Pendant // Kimberly Earrings // Renegade Bracelet // Christina Link Bracelet // Camilla Ring]

[Nutella Yogurt at Pinkberry? Yes!]

[Saturday treats]

Memorial Day weekend… the start of summer, a long weekend, and a time to be thankful for the fearless and selfless men and women who have or are currently fighting for our freedom. We were able to get in a little pool, brunch, and cookout time with some friends early in the weekend before heading down to south Alabama for my grandfather’s funeral on Memorial Day. We called him  Bop and he was affectionately known as Bubba to everyone else. We will miss him terribly, but I’m thankful that my brother and I and all of our cousins grew up being so close to our grandparents. We all have memories of him to last a lifetime.

andrew + lauren tied the knot! part 4:: wedding + reception

“I love you more than anything in the entire world… yes, even more than Riley.”

Lauren was a stunning bride, Andrew was a quite dapper groom, and the wedding ceremony and reception were “them” to a T. As I’d mentioned in the previous post, the ceremony was held at the Georgia Museum of Art, which is on the UGA campus. They married in the Grand Hall, and it was just that — grand with a long aisle, high ceilings, sweeping white curtains over floor-to-ceiling windows, and a huge, dramatic painting along the wall.

Lauren’s older brother Brett officiated the ceremony and did a beautiful job. Lauren and Andrew wrote and recited their own vows, and I have to hand it to them, because I never would have made it through that at my own wedding. It’s funny…. I knew it would be a glorious and incredible day, but I never imagined what it would be like to actually hear my little brother sounding so grown up, professing his undying love and adoration for his new wife in front of everyone important to them. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house when they finished.



The reception was held downtown at Farm 255 —  yet another fitting piece of the day, as it was where they had their first date. Farm is a farm-to-table restaurant, and Andrew is known among friends as quite a foodie and an excellent cook, so this location was perfection.  Inside, the room was literally glowing with hundreds of candles as we dined on a Southern feast of roasted chicken, local organic vegetables, collards, and shrimp and grits (I don’t eat shrimp, but the creamy grits were to die for).  The wedding cake was red velvet, and there were cupcakes, too! Sweet tooth seriously satisfied. Outside under strands of white lights, the fabulous Shimmer Band played and guests danced the night away.




















They had the reception venue until 2am, so they staged a fake exit earlier in the evening, complete with a Chinese wish lantern send-off. I’d never seen these in person, and it was so neat! There were tons and tons of giant, glowing lanterns floating off into the night in celebration of Andrew and Lauren’s marriage. It was truly one of the most magical and beautiful things I’ve ever seen. 

Last weekend was one of the best weekends of my life, and I’ll remember it always. We’ve officially joined families with Lauren’s, and we couldn’t be happier. Lauren is the sister I’d always hoped for, and I’m so happy that they have found their happy ending together – but really, it’s just the beginning! Cheers to many, many years of memories to come!

andrew + lauren tied the knot! part 3:: the big day, pre-wedding

The Big Day — May 18, 2013

Andrew and Lauren started dating toward the end of college and then moved to Atlanta upon graduation. Our family quickly grew to love Lauren, and I know we’d all agree that last weekend’s wedding was just a formality, as she’s been a part of our family for a long time.   Together with them, we’ve gone on so many family trips, had too many delicious dinners, celebrated Christmas Eve at her parents’ house with all of her family, and shared countless memories. Lauren has become a sister to both Craig and me, and I’m forever thankful that they found each other and have now officially become husband and wife.

I’m also so honored to have been a part of Lauren’s bridal party with her 6 very best friends. It’s been so much fun helping Lauren plan their wedding for the past year, hosting and attending wedding showers in their honor, going on her bachelorette trip to Vegas, giving her wedding advice, and finally, standing beside her while she married my little brother. I wouldn’t have traded this experience for the world. So without further ado…. enjoy my view of Andrew and Lauren’s wedding day.

It started with the Presidential Suite at the Hotel Indigo. Yep, we fancy. Lauren got the suite for all of us girls to get ready in on Saturday, and it was way to start the day. Our moms and her grandmother joined us, and Lauren’s sister-in-law Sam (who is an amazing makeup artist) brought her talented friends to turn us all into pretty, pretty princesses. It’s a good thing that suite was big, because within about 5 minutes of their arrival, the place was a zoo filled with hairspray, makeup, mimosas, and girls in matching bathrobes.





Most of the other photos need no description, but this one is special. Lauren tied this locket with one of her favorite photos of her little brother Bryan onto her wedding bouquet. Her family lost Bryan in high school, but he was ever so present the entire weekend. 



Andrew and Lauren had their “first look” before we headed out on a trolley to take pictures around town (which was SO fun, by the way). The entire wedding party and our parents were invited to watch from inside as they got their first glimpse at each other in the garden just outside the hotel. Seeing Lauren walk up to Andrew and tap him on the shoulder, and him turning around to gush over her dress and how stunning she looked…. it was unbelievably sweet and special.


We spent the afternoon riding around town on the trolley, drinking champagne with cute stripey straws, and posing at the Arch (which is the entrance to the beautiful North Campus, where we also took photos), the Last Resort mural, and Farm 255.  I think it made for a really memorable and fun day for the bride and groom to spend time with their parents and closest friends before their wedding. If I were to go back in time to my wedding, I think I’d do the same thing!


The famed Arch leading into UGA’s North Campus



I love this colorful mural outside of Last Resort — one of everyone’s favorite restaurants in Athens

Stay tuned for the final installment tomorrow!

andrew + lauren tied the knot! part 2:: welcome reception

In true Andrew and Lauren fashion, they wanted everyone coming into town for the wedding to be included in the festivities and fun on Friday night, so they planned a welcome reception at one of the BEST spots in Athens — the Georgia Theatre rooftop. For those not familiar with the venue, GA Theatre opened as a concert hall in 1977 and has been home to performances by the B-52s, REM, Sting and The Police, and so many other famous acts. In 2009, a fire tragically gutted the famous and beloved building that so many of us have countless memories of during our college years. It reopened in 2011 and while I haven’t seen the inside of the theatre, I think the rooftop makes the venue infinitely better than it once had been. Views of downtown Athens, a great breeze, and a fun bar made for the perfect welcome reception!

Lauren and Andrew had their name in lights!

I had the honor of creating a slideshow to share with everyone at the party. Andrew and Lauren didn’t want to see it in advance, so it was fun to see their reactions. I’m such a sucker for wedding slideshows. 




My mom’s family, minus a few who couldn’t be there. I’m so glad we got to spend quality time with our Florida family last weekend!


Lauren’s brother, sister-in-law, and one of many bffs


Almost Mr. and Mrs.!

andrew + lauren tied the knot! part 1:: bmaids luncheon, rehearsal, and rehearsal dinner

Andrew and Lauren’s wedding weekend took place in the beautiful city of Athens, GA, which is where they met and went to college at the University of Georgia. All of us who attended college in Athens have a special love for the city, and it was so much fun to share that with our friends and family last weekend.

Lauren invited the girls to a bridesmaids luncheon at what is likely many peoples’ most favorite restaurant in town — Last Resort. Everything I’ve had there is amazing, and they have a bakery case full of cakes that are to die for. So needless to say, we were excited to eat! She gave us the most fun gifts, including matching bathrobes to wear the morning of the wedding (with squirrels and giraffes on them!). And then she treated us to manicures at a nearby spa…. we definitely enjoyed it, but I don’t know if the other spa patrons did. 🙂 It was so nice to spend the day with each other before the busy weekend got underway.


Mimosas, presents, crab cakes, and a frittata – yum!




The bride and her maids

We loved our festive robes!!

Lauren and her family

Manicures at the spa


The wedding ceremony would take place at the Georgia Museum of Art, which is located within the UGA campus. After the rehearsal, we had dinner at a steakhouse downtown called Porterhouse. We kicked off the festivities with tons of food, 50 of our closest friends and family members, and toasts that were sweet, funny, tearful, and full of advice and praise for the happy couple. It was a wonderful way to start the celebration of two of our most favorite people and the love they have for each other.




Lauren and Andrew’s wedding party

The Rehearsal Dinner

Lauren surprised Andrew with his groom’s cake. He had a slight obsession with ALF when he was younger, and it was his 2nd birthday cake.
We have the cutest photos of him with his ALF doll, and it was the cutest surprise for the wedding. 




McClow ladies


A funny poem from some of Lauren’s bridesmaids


A Few of My Favorite Things, Wedding Edition (24)

This week’s post is more special than most — it’s the wedding edition! Last weekend, we spent Thursday – Sunday in Athens, GA celebrating the marriage of my brother Andrew to his now wife, Lauren. It was a glorious, amazing weekend filled with so much love and laughter. We’ve been talking and thinking and planning for so long that it’s hard to believe it’s all over. Thank goodness for lots of cameras and large memory cards to document everything — I took 780 photos in 3 days! Here’s a quick glimpse at some of my favorite moments from the weekend. Many, many more to come.

[Lauren + Andrew had their name in lights!
The weekend started off with a welcome reception at
the famed Georgia Theatre rooftop after the rehearsal dinner.]


[beautiful bridesmaids dresses hanging in the bridal suite]


[a trolley ride around Athens for wedding party photos]

[sneak peek at the gorgeous bride and groom]


[chalkboard art at Farm 255, the reception venue]

[favorite candid of the night. pure joy and fun.]

[FINALLY – my husband dances with me!]


[wish lantern send-off. so incredibly beautiful and magical.]

restaurant review:: the wrecking bar brewpub

One of the many lists I keep is one of new restaurants to try around Atlanta. Last weekend, I was in search of somewhere lowkey and casual for our Friday night dinner. I asked for suggestions from friends, and one friend in particular (thanks Rach!) really came through with a list she’s created of pretty much all the restaurants worth trying in the city. We decided on the Wrecking Bar Brewpub over in the Little 5 Points area. Craig loves trying new beer, and I’m a sucker for good fries, which I was told were one of their popular appetizers.

The building is a little inconspicuous — it is a 20th-century Victorian house that has been many things in past lives, including a church and antiques store. The top of the building is an event space (it was being used for a rehearsal dinner that evening), and the bottom portion around back  is the restaurant. It’s very cave-like inside… dark and cool with walls made from rocks.


We grabbed a high boy table in the bar area. Being a brewpub, they offer tons of beers (with some pretty funny names) brewed in-house, which made for a very hard decision for Craig. I can’t remember the name of his first beer, but it was some sort of Stout infused with Ameretto. It’s a good thing he got the small portion, as it was rich enough to be a dessert drink. I stuck with red wine. 


Craig’s last drink was the Border Patrol American Strong Ale, which I surprisingly thought was delicious, given that I’m not a big beer fan. It was dark with a sort of chocolatey aftertaste. 

My favorite menu item we had was the appetizer of Wreck Fries. I’ve heard the Beer & Cheese Soup is really tasty, too… next time. They were piping hot and accompanied by 4 dipping sauces — homemade green goddess, spicy mustard, cheese sauce, and ketchup. We devoured them in about 5 minutes. 

For dinner, I chose the Pulled Pork Sammy with Kale Slaw and Mac n Cheese. Craig thought it was fine (nothing amazing), but I really liked it. The mac n cheese was not what you’d expect with BBQ — it was not super creamy, but it tasted fresh and homemade. The kale slaw was interesting — sort of sweet. Craig got the burger with grits (too many fries with our appetizer). This time, I thought the burger was fine (nothing amazing), but he really liked it. Guess we each did a good job choosing our own meals. 

I really enjoyed our little date night to the Wrecking Bar — so much so, that we’re bringing my dad back this Sunday because he’s crazy about hot french fries… I think theirs will be right up his alley.

BBQ’n for Memorial Day



I don’t know about you, but I love any excuse to have friends over to our house  — for holidays, birthdays, football game watching, or a weekend BBQ. We usually do burgers and dogs or a rack of ribs for summer cookouts. I’m not sure what will be on the grill yet for Memorial Day, but I know it will be delicious! Here are my picks for some great BBQ essentials.


1. The perfect festive tray for hot dogs!

2. A drink dispenser for lemonade or sangria.

3. Striped paper straws are always needed for a party.

4. Wooden Ice Cream Spoons — who wouldn’t love ice cream sundaes for dessert?

5. How appropriate is this cheese board?


And some yummy recipes….

— Refreshing Sangria Bianca for the ladies.

— Festive fruit skewers for kids or adults.

— I’m a sucker for a good burger. Here’s a slight twist on the traditional recipe.

— A healthier alternative to burgers and brats.

— A homemade ice cream sundae bar to finish off the festivities.