A Few of My Favorite Things (42)

[monthly dinner with my Springbluff girls]

[exclusive earrings earned from last month’s challenge – fall hostesses can scoop them up, too!]

[Stella & Dot outfit of the week:: Sutton 5-Way Necklace // Portia Bracelet // Stackable Band Rings // Nancy Studs]

[salted caramel hot chocolate because i don’t do coffee]

[friday night dinner + drinks on the rooftop at six feet under]

[UGA tailgate for the LSU game]

[sunday adventure at burt’s pumpkin farm]

What a lovely first week of fall! I didn’t even mind the one day of dreary rain, as that meant getting to break in my birthday boots and use my colorful umbrella. Always a silver lining somewhere, right? We finally made it to Athens this weekend and spent the day tailgating with friends from near and far (like Denver, CO) and watching the Dawgs pull out a huge win against LSU!
Nothing says fall like pumpkins, and I’ve been wanting to visit Burt’s Farm in North GA for years. On Sunday, we joined hundreds of other people in picking out the perfect pumpkins for our front stoop. Happy Fall, y’all!

recipe:: pumpkin muffins


MMM…. fall is here, and I can smell it in my kitchen! I have really been craving some pumpkin doughnuts, and I found a great-sounding recipe for them on Pinterest. I was all set to make said doughnuts… and then I realized that required a doughnut pan, which I did not have. So I opted for muffins, which seem healthier anyway, regardless of the fact that they involve the exact same ingredients. It’s all about perception, people.

– 1/2 cup vegetable oil
– 3 large eggs (or 3/4 cup of egg beaters)
– 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
– 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree
– 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
– 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
– 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
– 1 3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
– 3 tablespoons cinnamon sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place cupcake liners in 2 standard muffin pans. My batch made approx 19 muffins.

2. With a mixer, beat together oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree, spices, salt, and baking powder until smooth.


3. Add the flour, stirring until just smooth.

4. Fill the cupcake wells about 3/4 full.



5. Bake for approx 23 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester is inserted into the center of one comes out clean.

6. Remove the muffins from the oven and transfer them to a rack to cool.

7. Sprinkle heavily with cinnamon sugar. Cool completely, cover, and store at room temperature.



restaurant reviews:: atlanta lunch spots

I’ve been on a new restaurant kick lately, so I thought I’d share a little about a couple great lunch spots  I’ve visited recently around Atlanta.

Cafe Lapin::


I met a girlfriend for lunch at Cafe Lapin last week, and I’m a new fan. It’s a little French country-style cafe in a rather unassuming location in the Peachtree Battle Shopping Center. The feel is sort of like being in someone’s home, with lamps and books and cute decorations everywhere.


They have an impressive assortment of chicken salads, tuna and egg salads, other sandwiches, quiche, and more. We were laughing because the menu is very “Buckhead Betty” friendly. I chose the walnut chicken salad on a croissant (my fave way to eat chicken salad) with a side caesar salad. It was so yummy and fresh-tasting. The grilled pimiento cheese and bacon sammy sounded amazing, too… I’ll probably have to go back soon to try that one. They serve breakfast and dinner, too, so there are lots of opportunities to check it out.


Bell Street Burritos::

I’ve been wanting to visit Bell Street Burritos for some time now, thanks to my coworker who has a serious obsession with their food. We ate at the Inman Park/Old 4th Ward location a couple weeks ago, which is connected to Jake’s Ice Cream…. can’t beat burritos and ice cream. But I would take a quesadilla over a burrito any day, so that’s what I chose. The cheese dip was delicious, and all of our meals were devoured.

They serve dinner as well. That’s actually when we went, and it was SO filling, so I’d imagine I’d have leftovers if I ate there for lunch. I’m so excited that they’re opening a location on Peachtree (across the street from the old Cafe Intermezzo) so that I can go on my lunch break!

A Few of My Favorite Things (41)

[Craig out of town for work = Smallcakes for me]

[gorgeous early fall evening walk in the park]

[Stella & Dot outfit of the week:: grey tank dress from J. Crew outlet // orange cardigan from J. Crew // Fiona Bib Necklace // Eden Studs // Secret Garden Ring // Renegade Bracelet // Christina Link Bracelet // Julep Bangle in ivory]
[after-work jog past these pretty doors at the Log Cabin Church in Vinings]


[pumpkins are sneaking into the house for fall!]

[an old Target favorite]

[new do]
Soooo… new haircut for fall! I ended up cutting about 4-5 inches, and I love it. I’m partial to having long hair, but change is good, and so is a fresh new style every once in a while.  This week was not super fun because Craig was gone for 6 nights due to work and a bachelor trip. But that did mean some weekend time with girlfriends for dinner and brunch, which is always welcomed! I also got lots of one-on-one time with Coco, which I think totally secured my spot as her favorite parent.

wild on the rocks — a zoo adventure!

Last week, we checked off another Fall Bucket List item! Lauren, Andrew, Craig, and I bought tickets to Wild on the Rocks at Zoo Atlanta — the Rhinos & Winos edition.

All summer long, on the second Thursday of each month, they’ve had a special evening exhibit viewing, live music, keeper presentations, and cocktails — all with a fun theme. We got to see the giant pandas (the new baby cubs were on the PandaCam), giraffes, rhinos, elephants, meerkats, and a hornbill feeding. The one thing I was disappointed with (and I think most other guests were as well) was that about half of the zoo animals seemed to be “away” for the night…. so many of the exhibits were empty. I wasn’t expecting that, but we still had a fun time. It was nice to do something a little different and experience more of what Atlanta has to offer. Can’t wait to go back for Brew at the Zoo next year!



Can you tell the difference between my iphone camera and my DSLR?
This talking parrot was quite entertaining. 


We received tiny sticks of bird seed to feed the parakeets, but they were very uninterested. 


Horbills like rocks.

Ah! Meerkats! This guy loved having his portrait taken.
The cutest little red panda ever.
And the cutest Craiggers! Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

These pandas were very sleepy by the time we made it around to them.
No more photos, people!
This guy was the last animal we saw… some sort of armadillo. Who knew they were so hairy??

A Few of My Favorite Things (40)

[fun new find at Target]
[Coco’s weekly photo shoot]
[Stella & Dot outfit of the week:: green maxi dress from Old Navy // navy cardigan from J. Crew // skinny gold belt // Valor Pendant // Janie Studs // Julep Bangle in green // Renegade Bracelet // Christina Link Bracelet]
[Rhinos + Winos event at Zoo Atlanta]

[finally got to check out Bell Street Burritos]

[Taste of Smyrna + The Stout Brothers Smyrna Beer Market]

We had the most beautiful, slightly fall-ish weather on Saturday, so we took full advantage of it. We started the day by taking Coco on a morning walk at our favorite nearby park, and then we headed to Smyrna Market Village for the Taste of Smyrna. I think our favorites “tastes” were the bacon wrapped dates from Meehan’s and the drunken pork loin over grits from Atkins Park Tavern. While wandering around the village area, we found out that there’s a great little wine shop (hello, wine tastings) and a cool beer market with tons and tons of unique brews on tap. The staff was super helpful and really personable — if you’re in the area, I recommend it checking it out!

recipe:: nutella s’mores rice krispie treats

Um, yes. This happened on Thursday when I had the day off work. My coworker Hilary, who shares my love for all things fun and sweet and treat-y, saw a photo of these from this neat little place in Candler Park called Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party. Aside form having the BEST name ever, Dr. Bombay’s is quite a gem — they sell coffee/tea/sandwiches/ice cream and even serve high tea every day! So anyway, they are apparently now serving these amazing-looking s’mores rice krispie treats. I decided to make my own and up the sweetness with Nutella.

1.5 bags mini marshmallows
4 tbsp butter
7 cups Rice Krispies cereal
small jar Nutella


Step 1:  Melt butter on low.
Step 2:  Mix in 5 cups of marshmallows until melted.
Step 3:  Mix in 7 cups of Rice Krispies.
Step 4:  Spray 13×9″ baking dish with cooking spray. Divide Rice Krispie mix in half and pour one half into baking dish. Smash down to cover pan evenly — I find that a ball of wax paper works well.
Step 5:  Spread a thin layer of Nutella over Rice Krispies.


Step 6:  Pour remaining half of Rice Krispies into pan and spread evenly. 

Step 7:  Pour remaining marshmallows on top until you have an even layer covering the Rice Krispies. 

Step 8:  Turn broiler on high. Place pan under broiler for 1-2 minutes, keeping an eye on the pan to make sure the marshmallows don’t burn. 

Step 9: Cut into squares and enjoy!


restaurant review:: one flew south (ATL airport)

While stuck at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport recently for several hours, we decided to make the best of it and try out One Flew South. I’ve heard so much about the busy airport’s first upscale restaurant, which serves cocktails, sushi, and a variety of other menu items, so I was excited to check it out.  



We had some time to kill, so we went all out — appetizers, cocktails, lunch, and dessert. We started with the mussels and edamame. 

We got some fancy cocktails… well, Craig did. It was called Pretty Brown Eyes (after me, of course) and was made with bourbon topped with red wine. Sounds gross, but I think he liked it. IMG_9630
Lauren and I split the open-face meatloaf sandwich and fries for lunch, so we had plenty of room for dessert. The freshly baked chocolate chip cookies were to die for. They just needed some ice cream. I didn’t try the banana pudding, but it was a pretty presentation.

It was definitely the best meal I’ve had in any airport, and the price tag reflected that. Maybe next time I wouldn’t splurge on three courses as well as drinks…. but at least it was fun!

On a different note, it’s 9/11, and I just want to say a sincere thank you to all of our service men and women who have fought and continue to fight for our freedom and safety. I’m so very grateful for your sacrifice.

A Few of My Favorite Things (39)

[Labor Day lunch with friends @ Corner Taqueria]

[Stella & Dot outfit of the week::  red dress from Old Navy last year // Jolie Necklace (get it 50% off this month!) //
Renegade Bracelet // Luxor Link Bracelet // Eden Studs // Suzanne Cocktail Ring]

[Friday night dinner + drinks @ The Family Dog]
[peanut butter indulgence]

[best photo booth ever @ the String Fling Gala benefitting the Center for Puppetry Arts]

[cheers to completing my 8th String Fling!]

Last weekend, I worked String Fling, which is the Center’s annual fundraising gala. It’s hard to believe it was my 8th one. It was a wonderful event filled with tons of balloons, puppets, and lots of great auction items. Sadly, I was outbid on everything I wanted, but at least that meant the Center earned more. 🙂

Craig spent most of the weekend re-building our deck. There’s still a lot to be done, but it’s pretty impressive that he’s doing it all on his own, especially in 90 degree weather. I can’t wait to see it once it’s all shiny and new — and a lot more stable.

On another note — check out this list of the 50 most perfectly timed photos ever. Enjoy!

fall bucket list


I don’t think Fall Bucket Lists are quite as popular as those made for the summer, but I’m going to make one anyway. There are always so many fun and festive things to do throughout the fall, so here’s my list of to dos from now through Thanksgiving!

1. Try 2 new restaurants each month (Sept / Oct / Nov) — completed Sept (Corner Taqueria, The Family Dog, Bell Street Burritos, Cafe Lapin, Pasta Vino); completed Oct (Smash, Heirloom BBQ, Farm Burger, New Yorker Deli); Nov (Hottie Hawg’s BBQ)

2.  Cheer on the DAWGS at a UGA home game — DONE!

3. Host some game day parties in the man cave for Auburn football (and Georgia, of course…) — DONE!

4. Go to Rhinos and Winos at Zoo Atlanta — DONE!

5. Scarecrows in the Garden at the Atlanta Botanical Garden — DONE!

6. Pick out pumpkins at Burt’s Farm in October — DONE!

7. Celebrate Craig’s 31st in Nashville! — DONE!

8. Take 1-2 more photography classes through Southeast Photo Adventures —  one DONE!  (online class re: lighting) 

9. Make Craig’s fabulous chili recipe more than once (or at least several soups and stews this season) — DONE!

10. Make homemade pumpkin donuts — DONE! (made pumpkin muffins because I don’t have a donut pan)

11. Finish re-doing the deck — DONE!

12. Finish the kitchen/front room/guest room valances — DONE!

13. Finish Christmas shopping by Thanksgiving