free smiles

Ok, I have stumbled upon two of the cutest kids on the internet planet. You may have already seen one or both of them, but they’re just too adorable not to share.  Their parents are the ones orchestrating the photos, so they deserve big applause, too.

I first found out about “Theo & Beau” via Instagram. This little puppy has taken to napping with his blonde-haired “brother” every single afternoon, and their mom has been able to capture the most sweet, hilarious poses of them sleeping. Part of what cracks me up are the outfits Beau (the boy) is wearing — he’s quite a fashionable little napper. And that puppy! These photos are seriously too cute for words, so you just have to see them for yourself. You can read her blog at Mommas Gone City or follow them on IG @mommasgonecity for your daily dose of cute.
(Photos by Jessica Shyba of Mommas Gone City)

20131118__theobeau~1 61390c1e-6e45-4e28-88f1-fc135001450b_Screen-Shot-2013-12-09-at-10-54-57-AM 69b600ef-03db-4f81-922d-52e9d5f614c7_Screen-Shot-2013-12-09-at-10-54-29-AM


Next up is a 4-year-old who makes the most adorable, and sometimes quite incredible, paper dresses. Her mom calls her “Mayhem” for a little internet protection, and I just found her on Instagram last night. I could have spent hours pouring over their fun creations…. some as simple as a few pieces of construction paper taped together to form a dress shape, and some modeled after red carpet dresses (and dare I say they rival those professional looks). The best part is that this creative 4-year-old actually helps design and build about 50% of the dresses… some of them she’s even done entirely by herself. I think little Miss Mayhem has a future in fashion. Follow them on IG @2sisters_angie  — or check out her website, FashionbyMayhem. Sassiest, most fashionable little girl I’ve ever seen.
(Photos by Angie of Fashion by Mayhem)

o-1643876-570 (1)

If you were having a bad day before you read this, these kids are an instant mood-changer. You’re welcome.

restaurant review:: slice & pint (emory village)

Slice & Pint is a new-ish pizza place in what used to be Everybody’s Pizza over in Emory Village. Some friends recommended checking it out, so we headed across town a couple weekends ago for… you guessed it, pizza and beer. They have a nice selection of beer and it sounds like they’ll be brewing their own in a couple months. The pizza options were also great — so many interesting options, and you can build your own as well.

unnamed (7)
I am usually a pepperoni/sausage/peppers kind of girl, but I decided I should branch out and try the Chicken Pesto pie (housemade basil pesto, marinated chicken, roma tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella & feta)… it did not disappoint.
unnamed (8)

Craig got the Carlos (chipotle adobo sauce, portuguese chorizo, grass fed ground beef, mozzarella, cheddar, roasted corn, green onions, cilantro). It wasn’t as spicy as I thought it would be, but in my mind that is a good thing. The flavors were great, but I wasn’t the biggest fan of corn on pizza.

20131122-274409-slice-and-pint-carlos(image from Serious Eats)

After dinner, we checked out  Ink & Elm, which seems to be a new hot spot in town. The restaurant has 2 sides — one that is more casual, and one that is more  “Mad Men”-esque. We chose to have a drink on the more upscale side, which features large wingback chairs in the bar area. It has a really neat vibe throughout, and I’m excited to go back for dinner sometime.
unnamed (9)

While we don’t live anywhere near the Emory Village area, it’s really nice to have different options around the city. I hope Slice & Pint and Ink & Elm are here to stay. I know we’ll certainly be back.

A Few of My Favorite Things (60)

[who needs Mickey D’s when you can make your own double stack?]
unnamed (2)
[Stella & Dot outfit of the week:: J. Crew Chambray Button-up // Plum Old Navy Skinnies // Toms Wedges // Pegasus Necklace // Linda Studs // Arrow Ring // Bracelet Stack]
[new doggy door mat]
[winter sunset view from our bedroom]
[girl scout cookies save the day]
[Sunday afternoon along the Chattahoochee]
Hallelujah for some spring weather! It may not be here to stay, but I’ll take it for now. It’s amazing how much happier nice weather can make you feel. We took full advantage of it this wknd with drinks on the patio at one of our local restaurants and a 3-ish mile walk along the Chattahoochee River (our new favorite outdoor place). I think we were the only people in Smyrna who didn’t know about these river trails. The rest of the weekend was pretty low-key, but we did squeeze in a double date at 5 Seasons Brewing. Dinner with friends is one of my most favorite ways to spend an evening. And in Atlanta, there is certainly no shortage of places to do just that. We’ve been to 5 Seasons several times (they have a cool rooftop deck overlooking part of the ATL skyline), and last night Craig tried something he’d never had — an antelope patty melt! WEIRD (at least to me).

Here’s looking forward to warmer weather that will hopefully stick around in the coming weeks! I’m off to eat more thin mints.

restaurant review:: ecco

After seeing a show at the Fox Theatre a couple weekends ago, we had dinner with some of our family at Ecco. It’s a great nearby Italian place in Midtown that we have been meaning to try for a long time, so I was really excited to finally make it there.


My brother and SIL have been talking about their fried goat cheese balls (with honey) since the first time they ate there, and I’ve been dreaming about them since. They did not disappoint. We also tried the Braised Beef-Stuffed Piquillo Peppers, and they were delicious as well. I enjoyed having 2 starters, along with their bread and butter, that weren’t too large and filling before we had a big meal of pasta and pizza.


For dinner, I had the Pappardelle with braised pork, peppadew peppers, garlic. The pasta itself was fantastic, and the meat, peppers, and sauce were the prefect combo. I cleaned my plate.
Craig got the wood fired pizza with homemade sausage, ricotta, and mint. And while we originally agreed to share our dishes, he almost wouldn’t let me take a slice because he wanted it all to himself. The crust was super light and crispy with a nice smoky flavor. This dish was also demolished. 

Italian-type desserts aren’t really our favorite, so we opted out and picked up Sublime Donuts on the way home. PS — they’re apparently open late on weekends now!!! Bad, bad idea… but so good.

A Few of My Favorite Things (59)

[my 1st trip to the gun range]
[#snowpocalypse part 2 breakfast of champions]
[Stella & Dot outfit of the week:: red Old Navy skinnies // cream GAP sweater // Mae Necklace // Crazy Hearts Scarf]
unnamed (3)
[Valentine’s s’mores]
unnamed (4)
[Taqueria on a beautiful Saturday afternoon]
unnamed (2)
[“Mad Men”-esque bar at Ink & Elm]
unnamed (5)
[Sunday afternoon @ the Chattahoochee River]
unnamed (6)
Last week consisted of yet another “snowpocalypse” in Atlanta. Despite the grim forecasts, it ended up not being too bad, thanks to early preparation this time around.  We did get another 2 days off work, but I have to say… it’s pretty boring having snow days when your husband works from home and can’t play outside or go do anything fun. I did make myself some delicious chocolate chip pancakes one morning, though, so there’s that… And I got to shoot a handgun for the first time ever! It was a little scary getting used to the loud noise in the range and the kickback of the gun, but I’m really glad we went. I’m now ready to fight off any zombies who come my way.

We didn’t do anything terribly exciting over the weekend, but it was such a great one. This was the first time ever that we’ve not gone out to dinner for Valentine’s. We kept it low-key with fondue,  s’mores, and several episodes of Scandal — and I’m pretty sure it was one of our favorite V-Day dinners yet. The rest of the weekend was spent being sort of lazy and watching tv (which I rarely ever do on weekends), having dinner at Slice & Pint over in Emory Village with some friends (and drinks at Ink & Elm — a must-visit), and checking out one of the trails along the Chattahoochee River for the first time. How have we lived over here for 4 years and never been to these great trails?? They were PACKED to the brim yesterday, but it was a lot of fun. Coco was a trooper and made it 1.25 miles… with her tongue hanging about 2 feet out of her mouth, but she made it nonetheless. We wrapped up the day with a last-minute trip to the Smyrna Beer Market for a tasting. Weekends like this one are some of my favorites — nothing super extraordinary on the agenda, but all things that make me happy.

recipe:: grilled salad

unnamed (2)
Well…for all of you in Atlanta, happy ICE day! I hope you’re all staying safe and warm over the next couple days. Since I’m stuck inside, I thought this would be a great time to share a new recipe with you. Last Sunday, Craig and I just sort of threw together a dinner that turned into one of the best salads we’ve ever made — so I wanted to share it! We’ve named it the “grilled salad” because everything is grilled and tossed with some romaine lettuce… which you could also grill. We probably will next time. The ingredients are rather simple, as long as you have a pantry stocked with lots of spices. You may need to grab a couple at the store, but I promise it’s worth it. And the bright side is that both seasoning mixes will make enough to store the remainder for next time.

2 chicken breasts
1 head of romaine lettuce (or a package of pre-washed, organic romaine)
1 red onion
1/2 white onion
1 red bell pepper
1 – 20 oz can pineapple chunks
handful sunflower seeds (optional — we just had them on hand)
olive oil

Vegetable seasoning (this will make enough to have extra)
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp basil
2 tsp ground mustard
1 tsp sea salt

Chicken rub (this will make enough to have extra):
1/2 cup paprika
1/4 cup garlic powder
1/4 cup chili powder
3 tbsp salt
3 tbsp black pepper
2 tbsp onion powder
2 tbsp celery seed
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp thyme
2 tbsp cumin
2 tsp dried mustard
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp allspice

1. Mix all chicken rub ingredients in blender.
2. Rub thoroughly over chicken breasts (store remaining mix in a container for later use).
3. Mix all veggie seasoning ingredients.
4. Chop onions and red bell pepper, then mix with pineapple chunks. For a little variety, slice the white onions into thin pieces, and chop the red onion into thicker, 1-2″ pieces. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with vegetable seasoning.
5. Grill chicken and veggies at approx 300-350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. We used a grill box to cook the veggies over the open flame. You could also use tin foil instead.
6. Chop romaine lettuce and place in bowls.
7. Slice chicken into strips of desired size.
8. Cover romaine with mixture of grilled veggies and chicken. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds.
9. Use whatever dressing you prefer. We used light ranch, and I think it worked perfectly with the flavors.

**DISCLAIMER:: Craig and I collaborated, if you will, on the ingredients of the dish, but I had no part in executing this meal, other than chopping the romaine lettuce. Cheers to our resident grill master. unnamed (2)

A Few of My Favorite Things (58)

[house = painted]
[Friday night cocktails + dessert @ Rosebud]
[mom’s weekend visit called for mimosas]
[girls day with our moms]
[The Book of Mormon @ The Fox]
[Sunday afternoon in the park]
Last Mon-Thurs sort of needed a do-over. I got some sort of stomach bug and we had to cancel our plans to go to the gun range, I was home sick for a couple days, and I missed a dear friend’s going away dinner before she moved last weekend. But enough boo-hooing. 🙂 I’m all better now, and we got to spend the weekend with my mom, who came up for a quick little visit from Florida.

My SIL, her mom, my mom, and I had tickets to see “The Book of Mormon” at the Fox Theatre on Saturday. It’s gotten rave reviews from everyone I know who has seen it — and while the subject matter (or at least the way they present it) is somewhat controversial, I think we all went in knowing that the show itself wasn’t something to take too seriously. There were of course some parts that made me cringe a little, but again… it’s just a show. The singing and dancing were really entertaining, we laughed a lot, and we had a great girls afternoon together. While mom was here, we tried 2 restaurants we hadn’t been to (Mali Thai in the Highlands and Ecco in Midtown), my chef brother cooked up a most delicious brunch for us, and we ended mom’s trip with a trip to the Silver Skillet. Nothing beats a good diner breakfast. It was a wonderful end to a not-so-stellar week. Here’s hoping that #snowpocalypse2 doesn’t really materialize this week!

A Few of My Favorite Things (57)

[celebrating the bday boy @ Bocado with 1/2 price burgers]

[Stella & Dot outfit of the week:: cream Old Navy sweater // green Old Navy skinnies //  taupe Tom’s Wedges // Sutton Necklace – stone // Florence Stackable Rings // Renegade Cluster Bracelet // Eden Bangle]

[Day 1 of #snowpocalypse2014]

[Coco’s first snow was a huge hit]

[Day 2 of #snowpocalypse2014]
[lunch special @ breadwinner cafe]
[Valentine’s goodies won from Natty Michelle Paperie]
unnamed (1)
[drinks at the St. Regis]
unnamed (2)
[Super Bowl Sunday]
unnamed (3)

Well, I think we all know what most of last week consisted of here in Atlanta. A little bit of snow that turned into a lot of ice, thousands of people stranded on interstates, and mass hysteria around the city. I am beyond thankful that I made it home in just 3.5 hours (when it usually takes just 25 minutes), because despite how that may sound, I was among the lucky that day when the disaster began. It’s amazing to me that our city was so unprepared for this, but I’m equally as amazed at how quickly the snow turned into sheets of ice on every road throughout Atlanta, thus making it absolutely impossible to drive on. Throw thousands upon thousands upon thousands of cars (and terrified/anxious drivers) into the mix, and you have a disaster. Traffic in Atlanta has a bad reputation for a reason, and I don’t think any amount of preparedness would have made this nightmare much better. One thing I think we’re all certain of is that we’re doomed if “The Walking Dead” ever becomes a reality in this city.

Once I made it home safely, I remained there for 2 solid days. I was warm and comfy in my house (albeit a bit lonely after my one house guest was finally able to get home to his family), and I’m so thankful that I wasn’t one of the many who were stranded in their cars overnight on the side of the interstate, alone and scared. Yet despite the mass chaos, there were so many stories of how truly good people are. So many bloggers and reporters have already recounted these stories, but it truly warmed my heart to see so many people opening their homes and businesses to house complete strangers overnight and other people walking miles in the snow and ice to hand out water, food and blankets to those stuck in miles of gridlock traffic for 10+ hours. It’s incredible how quickly people jumped in to rescue others or just lend a helping hand to push someone up a slippery hill. Stories like these were the bright light in an otherwise dark few days around here.

Friday through Sunday were a much-welcomed relief with nice weather and nowhere in particular to be, unless we wanted to. We went out on the town for a bit to celebrate one of our friends who is moving back to Nashville, and on Sunday, we hosted a Super Bowl party for about 20 friends. Despite the pretty boring game, we had a great time with lots of food and baby entertainment.

On another note, here are some extra pretties for your eyes today — some of the most unbelievably gorgeous places in the world. Happy Monday!