cabo san lucas birthday trip:: part 1

We just returned from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in celebration of my 30th birthday (and my dad’s 58th birthday, too!). My parents are so incredibly generous to have treated us to this trip, and I will always be grateful for these family trips we’re so fortunate to take together.

Our trip got off to a rocky start in Atlanta when our flight was cancelled almost immediately upon getting to the airport. After a lot a bit of griping and complaining, we were moved to the next flight out to Dallas and then onto Cabo… which left us with about 5 hours to kill. We managed to pass the day away with mimosas and a most delicious lunch at One Flew South, which is the fanciest airport restaurant I’ve ever seen.


After a full evening of travel, we arrived in paradise!
(This photo was actually taken on our way home — I just loved the giant letters on top of the airport.)

We chose to stay at the Hilton Los Cabos, which is in the “corridor” between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, so we rented a van to have our own transportation (I hear cab rides are rather pricey there).  On our way to the resort, we stopped at Mi Casa in the sleepy town of San Jose del Cabo for dinner. The restaurant was really neat — lots of small, colorful rooms, a big outdoor seating area, and a beautiful shop with all sorts of Mexican-inspired trinkets and art.

We had the most yummy, fresh margaritas at dinner, and then when we arrived for check-in at the Hilton, we were greeted with frozen strawberry ritas! That’s what I’m talking about, Hilton.

Saturday morning, we woke up to this. It’s the most gorgeous view I’ve ever seen from a hotel balcony. We seriously lucked out with the location of our rooms — almost top floor and smack dab in the center of the building, giving us the perfect view of the pool and ocean.

I was so worried the week leading up to the trip because of the weather forecast — 60% and 80% chance of rain the first two days. But after a couple quick showers the first two mornings, we had nothing but beautiful sunshine the rest of the trip.

We didn’t get to see it up close, but that giant fenced-in area is where they were burying sea turtle eggs, which should hatch this fall. 

I’ve never seen so many aloe plants in my life.

Our one trip down to the beach.  The first day, the water was so rough that every time it hit the rocks, it would spray up probably at least 20 feet in the air. Quite a sight. The sand was really coarse and sort of hard to walk in, so we stuck to the infinity pool for the rest of our stay. It was closer to the waiters anyway.


The most perfect day. The infinity pool was incredible!
This was the view coming out of our rooms. I love the contrast of the bright clay roof with the blue sky, palm trees, and mountains. 

This is as close as we got to Land’s End, the famed rock formation out in the ocean. We went into Cabo San Lucas just once for dinner, and that was enough for me. I’m not a fan of being harassed by salespeople as we walk down the street, so we decided we’d prefer to stay by the pool at the Hilton instead. I’d have loved to take a boat ride to see Land’s End closer, but maybe next time! 

Dinner at 12 Tribes at the Casa Dorada Hotel. Best tres leches cake and churros ever. Craig tried to lick the plate.


We may have ordered a second helping of this — and extra ice cream.

That covers the first half of our trip! I wish I could share every photo, but you’d be here all day. Check back soon for the second half — and a post about one of the best dinners we’ve ever had.

A Few of My Favorite Things (37)

[annual celebration at stoney river with my bday buddy]

[Stella & Dot outfit of the week:: black 3/4 sleeve top from Express // The Switch Bag // Kimberly Necklace // Gilded Arrow Ring //
Odeon Stretch Bracelets (3 of 5) // Harlow Bangle // Renegade Bracelet]

[tiny beauty of a lunchtime walk]

[birthday love from my coworkers]

[Hunter rain boots — such a fun birthday gift! now where’s the rain?]

Last week, the birthday celebrations continued with a dinner for my dear friend Danielle (my bday buddy) and me at Stoney River. It’s become a yearly tradition with a small group of our girlfriends, and I so look forward to a night filled with stone pups, wine, steak salad (which we all order, every time), and QT with some of my favorite ladies. Later in the week, my wonderful coworkers showered me (not literally) with donuts, dossants (the “other” cronut), a fun lunch at a fancy salad bar, funny cards, and the craziest birthday hat banner at my desk. Talk about the perfect way to get ready for 30!

Obviously our trip to Cabo San Lucas deserves at least one dedicated post, so I’m not going to mention it here. Stay tuned for our beach recap!

And on a completely different note — check out 40 maps that will help you make sense of the world. Enjoy!

hola, 30!

I’m 30 and celebrating in Mexico with the 5 people nearest and dearest to me. How in the world did that happen (turning 30, I mean)?

Growing up, I’ve always thought of 30 as a pretty big milestone for which to have accomplished various things in life. When I was in middle school, I made a book about my life (past, present, and future). Let’s see if those predictions ring true. At the ripe old age of about 24 (which I must have thought was ancient back then), my future self was living in Woodstock, GA (funny, right?), married with TWINS (even funnier), and owned a clothing store called Ziggy’s. I was quite ambitious.

Although I don’t own a clothing store or have twins who are 6 years old, there is no doubt in my mind that my life at 30 is more than I ever could have imagined or hoped for.  I’ve been married for over 4 years to the love of my life and we’re building a pretty awesome life together, if I do say so myself. I’m so loved by family and friends, and I love them all just as much in return. We have the funniest, most adorable puppy who never fails to bring a smile to our faces. I have not one, but two jobs that give me a purpose in different ways. I’ve gotten to travel the world and have a travel bucket list that’s still a mile long… I have no doubt I’ll get to cross off many of those items over time.  I count my blessings every day, because sometimes I just can’t believe I’m living the dream. Here’s to a new decade — I am so excited to see what it brings!


restaurant review:: local three

So I have already done one review of  Local Three Kitchen & Bar, which is just off West Paces Ferry and close to the Vinings area.
But that was last fall, and when we went a couple weekends ago for a friend’s birthday, a lot of the menu seemed to have changed (or at least everything we’ve previously ordered was no longer available). So I think it’s ok to post again because it was like eating at a new restaurant compared to our last visit!


Something I’d forgotten about since our last visit:: the salt and pepper shakers are different at every table. Adds a little bit of whimsy, and I thought this was very fitting, as we’re going to Mexico next week!

Craig and I tried the Redneck Queso as an appetizer, and we cleaned our plates.  It’s essentially cheese, ground beef of some sort, and jalapenos with pretzel bread for dipping. I have to admit that for the price, I didn’t think the portion was big enough, but it was really spicy and delicious. 

Out of 15 people at the table, well over half ordered the McDowell. The funny part is that McDowell is the last name of a couple of our friends, who we affectionately call Big Mac and Cheese… so it’s very fitting that they share a name with this burger. The description lists “Two Angus Beef Patties, Special Sauce, Lettuce, American Cheese…no sesame seeds…” It was quite tasty and juicy, but the special sauce really did give a hint of the Mickey D’s version. Funny. 



I loved our meal just as much this time as I have every other visit. Local Three is sort of a hidden gem in the middle of office/condo buildings, but it’s definitely worth seeking out.

ringing in 30!

Last weekend, my darling husband and sweet, sweet sister-in-law and brother threw me the most amazing 30th birthday party! I am one lucky lady. They’ve spent the past couple months talking and planning and planning some more for this special bday bash, and I couldn’t be more thankful. It was evident all the thought and preparation and creativity that they put into the party, so I had to share. I truly couldn’t have planned a better celebration myself — it was perfect!

Koozies, Mad Libs, a photo guest book documenting my 30 years, and fun little pony pens! Why ponies? I’d been asking for some details about the party for weeks, but of course they would give no information. Craig finally told me that there would be ponies at the party, and it quickly became a running joke. I’m glad they followed through. 🙂

How cute are those goggles? PS — Publix makes a delicious cookie cake. Watch out, Great American Cookie Co. 

Coco’s sweet face even made an appearance at the party! 

I am obsessed with these giant balloons and can’t wait to use them for whatever party I host next. Although I hear it’s not easy to transport them once blown up… 

I am so glad we got this photo of most of the girls. I love my friends like family, and all of these girls are so special to me!
Best hosts and hostess, and also best family. Couldn’t ask for anything more with these three.




Love these gold balloons, too.
It really was the best night and the best way to ring in 30 (a tad early).  They even had my favorite pizza-making friends, S & J’s Pizza, cater the party. It was a huge hit, as always. I am so thankful for amazing friends to celebrate with, and even more thankful for the most thoughtful, generous husband, brother, and sister-in-law for making me feel so special! Now on to Cabo this wknd to continue the celebration with my family!

A Few of My Favorite Things (36)

[Stella & Dot outfit of the week:: fun patterned tank from Old Navy with white jeans and a mint cardigan // Kimberly Necklace // Julep Bangle in blue // Renegade Bracelet // Christina Bracelet // Gilded Arrow Ring in gold]
[meeting my college friend Dana’s brand new baby girl]
[the friendly streets of Atlanta]

[favorite new piece for the entryway by Stephanie Creekmur in Nashville]
[girls dinner at H. Harper Station celebrating babies on the way and friends in town]

What better way to start off the week than by meeting a friend’s new baby? Dana is a college friend of mine who now has three beautiful little girls — hard to believe! I don’t get to see them often, so it was really nice to meet baby Brecken just a week after she was born,. We also got to play dolls with her two older girls, which was quite entertaining.

And this weekend was the best kind — full of celebrations! It started off Friday with my 30th birthday party, so graciously hosted by Craig, Lauren, and Andrew. There are far too many photos from that night, so I have another post coming soon. We celebrated our friend Kate on Saturday at her baby shower, and then continued the fun that night with dinner at H. Harper Station and drinks at the St. Regis. To top it all off, my bff Charlotte made a surprise trip down from NYC for the weekend. So much fun!

restaurant review:: chick-a-biddy

Looking for a  cute little lunch spot in Midtown Atlanta? Chick-a-Biddy recently opened in Atlantic Station (right across from the movie theater), and it totally fits the bill for a workweek lunch outing. They serve mainly chicken, and they have very interesting sides. I had a hankering for some mac n cheese with my fried chicken, but I guess that’s a tad too Southern for what they’re going for here.


The inside of the restaurant is so clean and bright, and I really enjoy the giant chickens on the wall.


I chose the chicken tender basket, which came with 2 sides — I chose the watermelon/feta salad and fries. Both were really good. The salad was cold and refreshing, which was a nice counter to the hot and salty fries. Oh, and the chx tenders are hidden in that bowl under the fries, in case you were wondering. They also include a wasabi honey as a dipping sauce. Yum.
If you have ever been to Yeah! Burger in Atlanta, you’ll recognize the metal trays and fun paper liners. Chick-a-Biddy was started by the same folks from said delicious burger joint, and I’m a definite fan of both.

A Few of My Favorite Things (35)

[a mid-week summer treat – and the best part is that part of each sale went to Children’s Healthcare in Atlanta]

[Stella & Dot outfit of the week — don’t you love a good, versatile scarf?? Frida Scarf (shown 2 ways) // Sanibel Pendant in gold (can be worn 4 ways) // Renegade Bracelet // Eden Bangle // Gilded Arrow Ring in gold]

[the beginnings of the master bedroom painting project]

[sweet shower for the bride-to-be]
[summer cookout]
photo (1)

This week, I started the project of painting our master bedroom. We didn’t necessarily need to repaint the perfectly fine khaki-colored walls, but when we removed some less than attractive metal shelves that the previous owners had installed, we found that they had also painted the walls 2 different colors underneath said shelves. Of course they didn’t leave the current paint behind, so repainting the room was the only solution. We chose a light grey to coordinate with the fabulous FREE curtains I scored from my brother and SIL’s new house (they were left by their previous owners).  I’m slowly but surely making my way to the end, one sore hand and arm at a time.

We had lots of fun friend time this weekend, including one of the only pool days we’ve gotten all summer. It was glorious, except for the sunburns. What can I say — we haven’t been out in the sun all summer long. We were also invited to a big group dinner at Local Three in honor of our friend’s birthday, and it was delicious as always. I highly recommend.

Sunday was the busiest — a bridal shower for our friend Courtney, and a cookout with my Springbluff friends and their husbands/boyfriends/kiddies. We get together once a month for dinner with just the girls, so it was fun to finally include everyone else. Cookouts and get-togethers sure have changed over the years, but I have to say they’re much more entertaining with little ones at the dinner table.

Here’s to a great week ahead, and an even better weekend — we’re having a party for my 30th birthday! yay!

restaurant review:: h. harper station

I’ve heard about H. Harper Station for a while now, so I was excited to check it out for a friend’s birthday dinner recently. It’s located on Memorial Drive in a neighborhood called Reynoldstown and the restaurant itself is shaped like a train depot. The inside is fairly small and narrow, but it’s a cool atmosphere.


From what I’ve heard, they’re known for their cocktails, so naturally, I had to try one. I chose the Ruby Slipper, which was made with vodka, grapefruit, rosemary syrup, soda water, and a sprig of rosemary for garnish. It lived up to the hype.




I think this was my favorite thing on the menu… bacon cracker jacks!! So simple, salty, and delicious. We also tried the deviled eggs and the smoked pimiento cheese with crispy bread. We gobbled up every last bite of all 3 apps.

The menu is fairly small, so there weren’t a ton of options that I’d have chosen. Most of our party chose the Beltline Burger, and it did not disappoint. And it came with a side of crispy garlic herb tater tots, which is never a bad thing. 

Excuse the dark iphone photo… these are crispy donut holes with Morelli’s coffee ice cream! If you don’t know Morelli’s, then you need to find out about it. They have arguably the best ice cream in the city. My favorite is the salted caramel. YUM!

weekend recap

Last weekend, my parents made the trek up from FL to help move my brother and sister in law into their first home. When we weren’t moving boxes and arranging/putting together furniture, we were eating. Seems to be a common theme when they’re here, which is fine by me. Both Lauren’s family and ours met up for dinner at THERE in Town Brookhaven, which is a great shopping/dining/entertainment center near their new neighborhood in north east Atlanta. As much as I love getting photos of everything we do, this is a rare one to have us all together.

Also, THERE has the most amazing grit cake on their menu. Just FYI.


After dinner, we got the grand tour of their new home! It was bare on Friday night, and by Sunday afternoon, almost everything was in place and ready for a party. Aren’t they just the cutest little homeowners?

I love the chalkboard paint on the pantry door in the kitchen!

My favorite part of their house is the gigantic deck and backyard. I have a feeling we’ll be spending many evenings here.


And in true fashion, my dad couldn’t wait to mow that lawn. Forget the house tour!

Congrats on your first home, guys! I look forward to spending lots of time visiting your new cute abode.