A Few of My Favorite Things (76)

[this month’s fruit delivery]
[Stella & Dot outfit of the week:: J. Crew top // white AE jeans // Sahara Pendant Necklace // Engravable ID Tag w/anniversary date // gold bracelet stack]
unnamed (1)[Jeni’s Ice Cream treats on the Westside]
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[The Painted Pin – bowling at its fanciest!]
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After 3 CRAZY weeks and weekends this month, I couldn’t have been happier to stay in town last weekend… with nothing to do other than fun plans with friends. I did have 2 photo sessions over the weekend, but when you love what you do, it’s hardly “work.”  I also got to do our monthly dinner with the girls from my freshman dorm, Springbluff. I can’t believe how fortunate we are to live so close to one another after all these years. Our dinners are something I really look forward to every month. This time, we hit up two spots — Mexican and Jeni’s Ice Cream… I’ll blame it on the momma-to-be in the group. 😉

We spent most of the weekend eating out and hanging at the pool with friends. My favorite activity was our big kids play date at The Painted Pin, a swanky new bowling alley in Buckhead. Aside from fancy bowling, they offer lots of other free games (like Skeeball!), and they have a really nice bar and food selection. The place was packed, and even with arriving early, we had an hour wait for our lanes. It was well worth it, though. Once on the lanes, we played several games, and it was so much fun. The drinks and food are exceptional — I think the biggest hits were the Pin’s Cup cocktail, the Moscow Mule Slushie, and the wood fired pizzas. I want to say that I highly recommend it for a fun night with friends, but I don’t want it to be too crowded the next time we go back!

restaurant review:: date night in Buckhead

Earlier this month, Craig and I had a Buckhead date night in celebration of our 5-year wedding anniversary, so I thought I’d share more about the places we visited. We started our night at Holeman + Finch Public House for cocktails. They’re located right in Buckhead, and while I think they’re usually pretty busy for dinner and brunch, it was easy to grab a drink in the bar area. They have a long list of fancy cocktail offerings with all sorts of interesting ingredients (most of which I didn’t recognize). I ended up choosing the “Pink Noise” and Craig got a whiskey drink — the name escapes me now. It was fun watching the bartenders expertly concoct our drinks, and they tasted just as good as they looked.

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Because they’re known for their bread products, we also ordered a Buttered Pretzel with yellow mustard to snack on. That mustard was SPICY, and the pretzel was hot and delicious. I’d go back just to eat that. 
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We had dinner at 1Kept, which is a newer restaurant just down the street from H+F. I’d been once before with girlfriends and everyone in our group raved about the food and service. It’s hidden behind a strip of shops on Peachtree, but it’s definitely worth the little bit of effort to look for it.
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We started off with the Pimiento Cheese Board, which consisted of crostini with pimiento cheese, bacon jam, grain mustard, and chow chow relish — all of which is homemade. It was so good, we contemplated ordering another one as a meal. And because we were celebrating, our waiter treated us to some of their Black Truffle Popcorn w/Parmesan. I don’t typically care for truffle oil, but this popcorn is really good.
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We accidentally filled up on appetizers, so we ended up both ordering flatbreads for our meals. I chose the SGT. Peppers (local peppers, caramelized onions, smoked provolone, and rustic tomato ragout), and Craig chose the Spicy Calamari (calamari stuffed with house-made spicy sausage, artichoke hearts, marinated olives, and herb goat cheese). I was too stuffed to finish mine, but they were both crispy and flavorful.  We managed to save room for the Flourless Chocolate Cake, and it was divine. Our waiter also surprised us with complimentary glasses of champagne to top off our night. Such a nice treat!

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I highly recommend both restaurants if you’re looking for a date night spot or just a fun place to go with friends. Both have excellent food, drinks, service, and a great atmosphere. Cheers!

A Few of My Favorite Things (75)

[Stella & Dot outfit of the week:: Old Navy maxi (current) // J. Crew cardigan // Rebel Pendant Necklace // Engravable Bar Necklace // gold bracelet stack]
unnamed (1)[the bride, her maids, and the minis]
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[some of my besties @ Bourbon Bar]
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[goin’ to the chapel!]
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[Shannon + David’s wedding reception @ SweetWater]
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[the BEST ice cream sandwiches]
[bride + groom]
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What a fun weekend! Two of my favorite girls came in town for our friends Shannon and David’s wedding, and I had the best time being the MOH for the bride. We started the celebrations early with mani/pedis at a local nail salon and a luncheon at Southern Art in Buckhead. Such delicious food — I really want to go back for the brunch and dinner. We continued the food tour with the rehearsal dinner at Food 101, which did not disappoint… I mean, when the choices for dinner are meatloaf, fried chicken, and shrimp and grits, you really can’t go wrong.

But enough about food. The wedding day was absolutely perfect, and I’m so very happy for them to start this new chapter together. They had a beautiful ceremony, and then we were driven on a trolley to the reception at SweetWater Brewing Co. to celebrate. The band was really fun, the food and drinks were great, the venue was cool, and they even had ice cream sandwiches! It was a wonderful night for a wonderful couple. Cheers to Shannon and David!

A Few of My Favorite Things (74)

[family maternity session up on MHP]
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[Stella & Dot outfit of the week:: white Fabrik top / GAP skinny jeans / Sutton Necklace (worn long) / Sahara Pendant Necklace / Bracelets – Renegade, Moxie Stretch, and Luna Wrap]
[celebrating the taco queen’s bday with Choco Tacos]
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[back in the Classic City to shoot Kat & Brett’s wedding]
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[perfect day for a wedding on the lake]
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[Stella & Dot engravables]
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Last weekend was a big first for me — I had the honor of photographing our friends Kathryn + Brett’s lakeside wedding! The setting was just perfect — a private home on a lake in Monroe, GA, complete with a barn and pretty horses. The entire day was smooth, fun, and filled with beautiful touches. It was a LONG 13-hour day of work, but I had a wonderful time capturing these very special memories with K + B. Stay tuned for some favorites up on the MHP blog in the coming weeks!

summer 2014 bucket list


Summer may not officially be here yet, but it sure feels like it in Atlanta. Earlier this week, I was out grabbing lunch at a local deli, and the place was packed with kids who had clearly just left the pool to come in for a quick bite before heading back out to their fun summer plans. Since we adults don’t have the luxury of an actual summer break, I want to make an effort to fit in more fun outings and activities than we normally do the rest of the year. It was fun trying to cross everything off my bucket list last summer, so we’ll see if we can do it again this year. Happy summer, y’all!


1. Install new light fixtures, frame out the mirror, and paint the guest bathroom. It’s a beige world we’ve been living in, and I’m slowly but surely remedying that.

2. Photograph TWO weddings! Never thought I’d have something like that on my list, but I’m so grateful and excited for where my MHP business is taking me. I’m also looking forward to getting in lots more family/baby/newborn sessions as the summer rolls on. Those really are the best kind! — DONE, and they were fabulous!

3. Make homemade popsicles! There are so many delicious-looking recipes on Pinterest, and I especially love the ones with fresh fruit.

4. Hoopla in Orlando! This will be my 5th year in a row attending Stella & Dot’s annual conference. It really does get better every year, and we have some really exciting things on the horizon, so I’m sure this year will be no different. — DONE!

5. Cookout with friends and smoke some meat on our fancy new Kamado Joe ceramic grill! — DONE!

6. Get back to the gym. Or at least exercise more in general — even morning or evening walks/jogs would be better than what I’ve been doing, which is nothing! — working on it!

7. Hike Stone Mountain — meant to do that last year!

8. Try a handful of new restaurants in Atlanta. I have a running list on my iPhone that is broken down by neighborhood, and there are still lots that we want to check out. To me, trying new places in my own city almost makes me feel like I’m on vacation, which is always fun. — Folk Art (AMAZING brunch!), Ink & Elm, Watershed on Peachtree (fried chicken night on Wednesday is the bomb), The Pig and The Pearl, Bad Dog Taqueria

9. Read more books. I have two brand new books downloaded on my Kindle just waiting for my attention. I would prefer poolside reading. — Finished “Crazy Rich Asians” and really enjoyed it. Now working my way through “The Vacationers”

10. Go to the beach! While we likely will only make one trip to the ocean this summer, I could not be more excited. We’ll be taking some friends down to my mom’s family’s beach house in St. Augustine, FL just before my birthday in late August. St. Augustine is my favorite place in the world — it’s where we grew up vacationing, where Craig and I got married, and where I would love to retire one day.

A Few of My Favorite Things (73)

[Stella & Dot engravables coming this month!!]

[bride + groom anniversary cupcakes]
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[free doughnuts in honor of National Doughnut Day]
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[Stella & Dot outfit of the week:: black J.Crew peplum top // coral Express skinny jeans // Rory Necklace // Cleopatra Studs // Renegade Bracelet // Macey Bangle]
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[celebrating 5 years]
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[celebratory dinner + drinks]
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[roughin’ it at the Ritz at Lake Oconee for Shannon’s bachelorette]
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[bride, maids, and friends]
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What an eventful weekend! We kicked it off by celebrating FIVE wonderful years of marriage. I can’t believe it’s been that long, but every day just brings more happiness and love for that sweet husband of mine. We started off with drinks at Holeman + Finch and then walked over to 1Kept for dinner. Knowing we were celebrating, they gave us extra special treatment — a complimentary starter as well as glasses of champagne with dessert. The food was just as delicious as I’d remembered, and it was the perfect way to ring in another year of being married.

To continue the wedding theme of the weekend, I headed to the Ritz at Lake Oconee for one of my best girlfriends’ bachelorette trip. Talk about doing it up right — I’ve never stayed at a Ritz before, and now I’m hooked. Top notch service everywhere you go, a beautiful lake view, and lots of yummy food and drinks.  We spent the day by the pool, and then we had a pretty fabulous dinner at one of the onsite restaurants. Our waitress even offered to hand-pick purple basil from their garden for a specialty cocktail request. We also got to roast s’mores by the fire outside, which totally won me over. 😉

Somehow, I managed to squeeze in traveling home to Atlanta, celebrating a friend at her baby shower, and then photographing THE most beautiful little family and momma-to-be (of three!) for a maternity session on Sunday. I managed to log lots of miles in the car yesterday, but it was all very worthwhile. Having friends to celebrate the special things in life is something that can’t be missed, and this weekend was full of just that. And Craig deserves a big shout out — he took it upon himself to do laundry and get various groceries from 3 different stores so that I wouldn’t have to try to cram that in among everything else I had going on. He’s pretty awesome.  Also, I can’t wait to edit Katy’s maternity session and share it with y’all over on MHP later this week!

five years

Today is June 6, 2014… today marks our five-year wedding anniversary! We have made it to 1/2 a decade! Wow, that makes it sound like a really long time.  In reality, it seems like the time has flown by. I could go on and on, but I’ll keep it short and sweet. In honor of this milestone anniversary, I wanted to say this:

Craig, thank you for being my best friend, my teammate, and my cheerleader. Thank you for believing in me, keeping me grounded, and not getting too annoyed with my stubbornness. Thank you for being silly, being patient, and being so handy. Thank you for helping me start a monthly budget — because we all know I like to shop and eat out and decorate our house… but not spending every dollar we make is a far better plan. Thank you for taking care of my car, for taking out the trash, and for cooking a lot of our dinners. Thank you for wanting to spend so much of your time with me — even when we’re just running errands or doing projects at home, I enjoy being with you. Thank you for celebrating with me in the good times and for being my rock and doing whatever you can to make me feel better in the bad times. Thank you for being everything I could have hoped for in a husband and teammate.

I look forward to many, many more anniversaries and all the days in between. I love you so so muches! Motown + Craiggers 4 Life!

A Few of My Favorite Things (72 | ATL Food & Wine Fest)

[the cutest little 7 month session up on the website]

[upstairs hallway re-do: from tan to grey]

[Stella & Dot outfit of the week:: pink JCrew cardigan // navy and white tank // GAP jeans // pink Tieks flats // Fiona Bib Necklace // Eden Studs // Bardot Spiral Bracelet in gold // Eternal Band Ring]

[ATL Food & Wine Festival – food classes, private events, and too many delicious tastings]

[smoking brisket in the “De-Regionalized” BBQ class]
[tasting:: brisket 3 ways — quesadillas, sliders, and bruschetta]
[flowery, fruity cocktail shooter]

[tasting tents and glasses on lanyards]
[prettiest tiny bite with crab meat and veggies | bourbon brittle from Nashville | best mac n cheese from G.C. BBQ | Honeysuckle Gelato]
IMG_3810 [tangerine and mint cotton candy!]
[my super woman SIL, one of the planners of AFWF]
[Pig Out party at JCT Kitchen]

[seafood, gazpacho, cocktails, caramel cake, and a great band]
[Amex event @ The Painted Pin in Buckhead]
What a busy weekend. My parents came up from Florida for the Food & Wine Festival, which my SIL Lauren’s company coordinated. She’s been working night and day for months on this huge event, and it was really fun to see all of their hard work come together. We started out with some food classes on Saturday. The Southern Food & Great Literature class included a panel discussion with chefs Anne Quatrano (Atlanta restaurants include Bacchanalia, Star Provisions, and Floataway Cafe, among others), Bill Smith (NC), and Frank Stitt (AL). While they talked about their favorite cookbooks and Southern cuisine and culture, we got to sample some of the chefs’ own dishes, including biscuits and homemade strawberry jam, cheese crackers (w/rice krispy treats!), and pea cakes with salsa. In our next class, “De-Regionazlied” BBQ with John Rivers (FL), we learned all about smoking brisket (which we’ve never done), and some really fun ways to prepare it. The brisket quesadilla and bruschetta were some of our favorite tastes all day. We got his cookbook, so I can’t wait to smoke some meat and make all kinds of new dishes.

Aside from the heat and mass crowds at the tasting tents, they were my favorite part of the event. With glasses on lanyards to keep your hands free to hold more food, we sampled SO many amazing dishes. Some of my faves were the mini chicken pot pie from TRACE (opening soon at W Midtown Atlanta), Grand Champion BBQ mac n cheese, Bourbon Brittle from Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Co. in Nashville, Highland Brewing Company porter beer, tangerine mint cotton candy, and balsamic vinegar drizzled over pound cake from Marchetti International (Italy).

Some other fun AFWF events we attended were at JCT Kitchen and The Painted Pin. I’m excited for TPP to open soon — it’s a high end bowling alley located on Miami Circle in Buckhead. Aside from bowling, they have bocce ball, skee ball, a game called Skittles, swanky seating, and giant pizza ovens. I’m sure it’ll be packed out for a while, but we’re looking forward to going with friends sometime.

After a weekend of food and fun with our family, I’m looking forward to a somewhat low-key week… and Friday marks mine and Craig’s 5-year wedding anniversary! Cheers!