2014:: year in review

2014 has been a very interesting year… some great successes and fun adventures, some exciting changes, and some terrible losses. I think the photos say it best, so here’s a little recap of our year. I am hopeful that 2015 will bring joy, love, laughter, learning, surprises, and adventure!

Between the 2 of us, we traveled to Arizona, California, New York City, Athens (Georgia), Orlando, Arcadia (Florida), St. Augustine, and Nashville (several times)::
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We celebrated 5 incredible years of marriage with an early anniversary road trip through Arizona (Sedona, the Grand Canyon, and Scottsdale)::
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We built a live edge dining table for our deck::

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We celebrated a few special friends on their wedding days::
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I attended my 5th Stella & Dot Hoopla conference, this time in Orlando::
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I turned 31 and we celebrated at the beach house in St. Augustine, as well as with a couple dinners in Atlanta…::
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We took a trip to Nashville to enjoy all the fun, touristy, delicious things Craig’s hometown has to offer::
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Craig turned 32 and we celebrated with a chili bar and gameday party at home::
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I took one of the most amazing trips to Napa with 2 of my best girlfriends::
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Coco Bear turned 4::
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We saw George Strait (with Sheryl Crow) and Garth Brooks in concert::
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My photography business has grown by leaps and bounds in its 1st year::
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Not a day goes by that I’m not thankful for this life we’ve been given. I hope you all had a wonderful 2014 — and cheers to the new year to come!

a very merry christmas

I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas/Hanukkah/anything else you may celebrate! We had a really wonderful week off work visiting Craig’s family and several of our friends in Nashville and then heading back home to Atlanta to spend some time with my family. I just love this time of year — especially the lights, music, food, and fun. For me, it’s a season of giving, spending time with those you love, and being thankful for our great, many blessings.  Here’s a recap of our holiday week…. it’s hard to believe it’s already over and that we’re focusing on the coming new year!
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Early Christmas dinner at Craig’s grandparents’ house with his little sister and his brother’s girlfriend… and Coco who was not interested in smiling for a photo.
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The lights in the Cottonwood neighborhood in Franklin put the Atlanta neighborhoods to shame. So many festive houses!
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Happy Hour @ Urban Grub with one of my besties
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Christmas with the Sims family in ATL (notice Riley is much better than Coco is at posing for photos…) 
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Yep — this was my Christmas night dinner! 
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One of my favorite Christmas traditions is hosting a big dinner at our house every year for our family and my SIL’s parents who live in town. It’s so fun getting together with them, and we just love the chance to host everyone. My dad always fries a turkey, and this year, Coco got a prime spot for carving. 
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As part of dessert, we served some of the icewine I brought back from Napa (which is actually made in Canada). It’s super sweet, but it was fun to share. 
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Here’s looking forward to what 2015 has to bring!!

A Few of My Favorite Things (99)

[Stella & Dot outfit of the week:: Old Navy vest + plaid button-up // BP booties // Somervell Necklace]
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[Christmas cookie swap]
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[homemade pesto chicken, spinach, mozz, and balsamic vinegar pizza]
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[wine and beer flight date night at Vine & Tap]
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And some bonus favorites from our friends Casey and Connor’s wedding shower/tacky sweater party::
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Oh what a fun holiday week! It started with a Christmas cookie swap with some of my favorite girls (which ended in a sugar coma), and the weekend was a lovely one. We had a date night at Vine & Tap, a newer restaurant in Buckhead that has wine (and local beer) flight offerings. It was fun to do something a little different, and the interior of the restaurant is beautiful. I’ll definitely look forward to returning. We celebrated two friends and their upcoming wedding with a tacky sweater party and shower, and it was so much fun. There’s just something about dressing up in ridiculous outfits and having a good time with your friends. I’m looking forward to this week, because as soon as Friday at 5pm rolls around, I’m off work for over a week! Yippee!

A Few of My Favorite Things (98)

[festive entryway]
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[Stella & Dot team holiday celebration]
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[5th annual Christmas ornament exchange]
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[Stella & Dot outfit of the week:: cream Old Navy lace-shouldered top // American Eagle jeans // Sole Society booties // Fanella Necklace // Janice Studs in orange]
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[look up]
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[the cutest beggar I know]
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[Stella & Dot holiday trunk show fun!]
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I love it when December rolls around… although it’s always a very busy month, I think we’ve established that I tend to like busy. 3 days this week were filled with celebrations and holiday goodness — our Stella & Dot team celebration for the Atlanta-based Dixie Dots, a girls’ night and ornament exchange at Ecco, and I wrapped up the weekend with a holiday trunk show at my house. We also had a fun double dinner date with our neighbors to Bone Lick BBQ — and I tried fried pickles for the first time ever! (Disclaimer: I do not like pickles, but these just looked and smelled too good to miss out on. I was right — they were delicious…. but I don’t know that I’ll go out ordering them all the time.)
Here’s to another week and weekend with fun-filled Christmas activities!

ATL Holiday Gift Picks 2014

Holiday time is upon us! There are many things I love about this time of year, but selecting personal gifts for loved ones is always fun for me. Since I’m almost done checking items off my Christmas gift list for this year, I wanted to share some of my favorite local artists and small businesses that I have frequented for gift ideas (and I’ve also put several of them on my own wish list!).

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1. Prints, original artwork, and other goodies by Britt Bass Turner: $40+ // 2. Boo Boo Gel by Painted Earth Skincare: $25  (the perfect stocking stuffer for most anyone!) // 3. Gourmet Sweet Bread by Breadwinner Breads: $25.99 (the most fabulous breads, and the price includes fast shipping) // 4. Chalkboard art prints by Garvin & Co: $15 // 5. Locally Grown onesies & childrens’ shirts by Seed Factory: $24-26 // 6. Family Gift Membership for the Center for Puppetry Arts: $90 (shameless plug, as this is my full-time job, but it’s one of the best activities in town – for both kids and adults) // 7. Watercolor city maps & custom wooden stamps by Natty Michelle Paperie: $10-45+

Being a small business owner with Melissa Hayes Photography and also working as an Independent Stylist for Stella & Dot, I truly admire all of these fine folks who are working to support their dreams through their businesses. If you’re a small business owner as well, check out Kabbage’s Holiday Planning page for tips to prepare your business for the Holiday Season! Kabbage is an online provider of small business loans — they act as a resource for entrepreneurs to thrive in their local communities, especially during the Holiday Season.

Friends — whether you’re in Atlanta or across the world, I hope that you’ll consider shopping local and supporting your fellow community members while you’re checking those gifts off your list this year. Happy Holidays!

A Few of My Favorite Things (97)

[the best Christmas card stamps]
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[Stella & Dot outfit of the week:: grey JCrew sweater // Sam Edelman ‘Penny’ BootsEye Candy Necklace in pink // Engravable Disc with monogram // Deja Vu Reversible Studs]
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[5 Seasons afternoon snack]
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[decking the halls]
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[Saturday treat in between photo sessions and shopping]
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[first twin newborn session]
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Last week was filled with Thanksgiving fun, so the weekend was spent watching football, decorating and shopping for Christmas, and squeezing in some of my last photo sessions of the year. I can now check my first twin newborn session off the list! The Barefoot babies were so tiny and sweet, and I couldn’t have asked for a nicer end to my holiday weekend. Looking forward to the fun holiday outings that begin this week!

thankful for turkey time

I don’t know about y’all, but I’m beyond stuffed from our Thanksgiving feast (and all the other meals we had while my parents were in town). What a wonderful holiday it was, and my how many things we have to be thankful for! While this year has brought some of the hardest, saddest times for us, it’s also brought so much joy and laughter that I am more than grateful for.

This past week was spent enjoying quality time with my parents, who came up from Florida, and my brother’s in-laws, who live in town. We did some shopping at the new Avalon shopping center in Alpharetta, eating at some great restaurants around the city (including King + Duke), celebrating of my mom’s early birthday, and eating even more for Turkey Day.  My dad and brother fried a turkey, and it was more than delicious — and then they fried okra in the leftover oil, which was definitely a crowd favorite this year. 🙂 Gotta love some Southern cookin’!

To wrap up the holiday, we spent the night oohing and aahing at the displays of holiday lights at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. It was brrrr cold outside, but walking around with yummy hot chocolate and looking at the beautiful, colorful lights and pretty plants were a fun way to end to the week.  I hope you all enjoyed your holiday weekend with loved ones and lots of tasty food!

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